Wednesday 30 June 2010

Oh Fiddleheads!

We also did a bit of gastroforest foraging while our friend was here.

We visited a nearby forest park, where a "Local Food Fair" was being held. Unfortunately the food fair was a little disappointing in range, although we did get some delicious and rather unusual flavoured (mine was Cranachan) ice creams.

The weather was fine so we took off for a walk around the forest trail. Our friend is a tree/wood enthusiast, so we stopped frequently to get the full tactile bark experience and to find out the species from the conveniently-provided name tags.

Deeper into the woods the smell of Wild Garlic (pictured; also known as Ramsons) evoked strong (sic) memories for me of playing there as a child. We collected some of the succulent deep-green leaves which were growing abundantly in the most shaded and moist areas of ground.

Our friend also noted a lot of new and lush-looking ferns. He told us that the young, curled-over "fiddleheads" of the ferns are quite a delicacy in the States. We picked a few likely-looking candidates and headed home with our bounty.

We cooked the fiddleheads simply: boiled for five minutes then seasoned with salt and pepper, and a little butter. Some of the wild garlic was added to an immense and diverse bowl of salad; while the rest of it was finely chopped and added to a pan of prawns frying on our barbecue. The fiddleheads had a delicate texture and flavour - a little like asparagus. The wild garlic was sharp and fresh in the salad but subtle cooked with the prawns.

We thought we were being innovative in suggesting that "The Fiddleheads" would be a good name for a Folk band but, like many other good ideas, I see it's already been done. Contra dance, anyone?

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