Tuesday, May 10
I was very lucky to grow up in a small, well to do town at the foot of the White Mountains, surrounded by lakefront. Though my childhood home is no longer standing, I often drive up and bring the kids on a drive around the dirt roads I grew up riding my bike on.
I think back to days and I am often in awe that I was allowed to do, like ride my bike without an adult, (without a helmet) miles down the country roads. Now that my oldest son is nine, he often battles me on boundaries and what he can or can not do alone. When I think back on those days in my childhood, I sometimes think maybe we have become too strict in parenting our children today? Maybe we don't give them enough freedom so they can learn and grow into responsible adults?
It's a debate I find myself having with my husband more and more as the kids age. We are entering a new stage in our parenting life, and I feel like I'm doing it blindly, and always second guessing my decisions.
During one of those 3 mile bike rides to school at 7am (I cringe thinking about my 3rd grade self doing this alone) I remember seeing a little old lady outside on the dirt road picking what looked to be baby ferns. I remember thinking that she must be completely insane. Later that week when I was driving down curvy route 175 into Campton, we saw an entire family out on the side of the road picking them as well. I asked my mom what they were doing, and she told me that some people eat baby ferns, they are called fiddleheads. We both agreed that the idea of that was absolutely disgusting.
If you recall, I wasn't exposed to many foods as a child. My parents are incredibly picky, so the idea of eating anything green growing in the wild, was so foreign to me. Today however I look forward to fiddlehead season. Though I don't forage them myself, I have a dad that enjoys picking them, and I can also purchase them at a couple local grocery stores. So I can get my fix in, before the season quickly passes.
I think the idea of eating fiddleheads scares many, they are little on the weird looking side. But honestly you guys, they are not much different than asparagus in my opinion. They are great cooked a variety of ways. But if you are newbie to fiddleheads, and unsure if you will like them, try them fried. It's a great gateway in to any food really. If you coat something in flour and then give it a bath in hot oil, you know it will taste good.
These fried fiddleheads are great dipped in ketchup, aioli, ranch, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, or enjoyed straight up. You can even top salads with them, serve them as a side to hamburgers, chicken, grilled steak... the ideas are endless.
1 1/2-2 lbs fresh fiddleheads, washed well (they hold in dirt!) and patted dry
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like things)
1 tsp Louisiana hot sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (Or plain soy milk to make it vegan)
Vegetable oil for frying
Fill a large heavy bottomed skillet with oil, about 1 inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches about 360 degrees.
In a shallow dish mix flour, 1 tbs salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper together with a fork.
In a separate dish whisk buttermilk and hot sauce together.
Dredge the fiddle heads through the flour mixture, then through the buttermilk, and then through the flour again.
Fry in groups of 6-7 until golden and crispy.
Remove from oil and place on a paper bag or paper towels to drain the remaining grease.
Serve hot with your dip of choice. We like a simple garlic aioli.