Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus / by Alex Boake

Oh it's my favourite time of the year again! My Dad has a small farm up north and in the spring and summer he starts bringing home some of our own fresh produce! Not huge crops, but enough to supplement our meals. Organic produce from our own remote backyard! Right now we're not harvesting vegetables that we've planted. No, he's been bringing me foraged things like Wild Leeks and these cute little Fiddleheads! Last week he brought me home quite the bountiful harvest of them, so I dreamed up a recipe that really puts them front and center. If you don't have someone gathering these for you, you may be able to find them at a local Farmer's Market! Just in case you haven't seen Fiddleheads before...this piece isn't to scale. The baby fern shoots are much smaller than Asparagus...I've taken some artistic liberties here!

Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Fiddleheads
  • 1 lb White Asparagus
  • 2 to 3 Shallots
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

Wash your Fiddleheads, removing any of the brown papery covering from the outside. Pat dry, or spin in a lettuce spinner. Peel Shallots and chop finely. If using White Asparagus, peel, and then cut into 2 inch pieces. For Green Asparagus peeling is not necessary, so simply cut them up.

In a large pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbsp of Butter, and then add the diced Shallots to the pan. Using a Garlic Press, press the Garlic and cook it along with the Shallots. Cook until the Shallots are translucent. Sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper.

Add another Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and then toss in the Asparagus. Cook until they begin to soften slightly. Then add the last Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and begin to cook the Fiddleheads along with the Shallots and Asparagus. When the Fiddleheads and Asparagus are fairly softened, pour in the Lemon Juice.

You want to cook everything until the Fiddleheads are soft, and start to unfurl slightly--but don't overcook! The beauty is the fresh crunch that they will maintain, which goes nicely with the bright Lemon flavour. Taste one to test for doneness and seasoning, before serving, add more Salt and Pepper if needed. Enjoy!