Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Fiddlehead & Shrimp Linguine

The lil' curlicues popping up from the dun-brown crowns of awakening ferns are among my favorite signs of spring - namely, because I can eat them. When cooked-crisp, fiddleheads are toothsome and have a lightly grassy, asparagus-esque taste to them. A perfect spring vegetable! You might be able to find them at better farmers' markets or at specialty food stores, but it's always more enjoyable to search them out and collect them yourself! When foraging, make sure you're clipping from edible (most likely ostrich) ferns, and only taking fiddleheads which have not yet unfurled. Regard the picture below to get the right idea. Also, be a pal and don't deplete an entire plant - I usually only take one or two fiddleheads per fern.  In springs past I've simply sauteed them with a hint of butter and s&p as a side for meat, steamed them lightly or even thrown 'em raw into salads, but this time the coiled fronds reminded me of the shrimp I had in the freezer, cutely tucked in similar position.  So, I decided to add them both into tangles of pasta. A little side salad of young dandelion greens, also foraged, completed the springy supper.

Happy foraging!

Fiddlehead and Shrimp Linguine
Makes 1-2 servings

*4 oz linguine
*1 handful fiddlehead ferns, washed thoroughly in a couple changes of water (brown flecks all removed)
*6-8 medium shrimp, cleaned
*2 tablespoons butter
*1 tablespoon minced shallot
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1 pinch red pepper flakes
*2 tablespoons white wine
*1/2 teapsoon lemon zest
*Juice of 1/2 lemon
*Grated Parm-Reg

Set water on to boil for the pasta. Blanch the fiddleheads in another pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium and saute the shallot and garlic for 4-5 minutes, adding a pinch of red pepper flakes near the end. Bump the heat up a little and add the fiddleheads and shrimp; saute about 2 minutes per side. Add the wine and lemon juice to deglaze. Reduce heat, stir in the zest and simmer for a few minutes, seasoning to taste. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, tossing well. Dish out and dust with Parm-Reg.

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