Fiddlehead Spring Pasta

Fiddlehead Spring Pasta
Staff Writer
Fiddlehead Spring Pasta

Terrapin Restaurant

Fiddlehead Spring Pasta

Fiddleheads are the young curled up sprout of an ostrich fern. When properly prepared and cooked, they are meaty, with a slight crunch, similar to asparagus with a unique flavor. The first thing you need to do when you get fiddleheads is to clean them well. Fill a large basin with water and soak them, then rub each fiddlehead to remove the brown leafy fronds. Drain and then spin to dry in a salad spinner. Think asparagus when you prepare them from here. You can steam them and toss them in butter. Sauté them with olive oil and garlic. You can also make many other preparations.

I make a light Camembert cheese sauce (don't think Alfredo!) and mix it with as many spring delectables as I can get my hands on. Fiddleheads are always front and center as long as they're available.

Ingredients

For the Camembert sauce

  • 2  Tablespoons  butter
  • 2  Tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  Cup  white wine
  • 1  Cup  milk
  • 1  Cup  heavy cream
  • 1/4  Cup  grated Parmesan
  • 6  Ounces  Camembert
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the pasta

  • 1  Pound  pasta, such as gemelli
  • 1  Tablespoon  butter
  • 2  Tablespoons  olive oil
  • 2  Tablespoons  chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2  Pound  mixed spring vegetables, such as fiddlehead ferns, cleaned and cooked briefly
  • 1/4  Cup  dry white wine
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions

For the Camembert sauce

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Then, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. While whisking, add the wine, then milk and cream. Bring to a boil and let thicken. Turn off the heat and mix in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside.

For the pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain. Toss with the butter and set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil, then the garlic, and sauté briefly. Add the cooked vegetables and sauté until well heated. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and then add 3 cups of the reserved sauce. Add the pasta and toss. Serve with Parmesan and season with pepper, to taste.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
25g
36%
Sugar
12g
13%
Saturated Fat
11g
46%
Cholesterol
103mg
34%
Carbohydrate, by difference
67g
52%
Protein
20g
43%
Vitamin A, RAE
196µg
28%
Vitamin B-12
1µg
42%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
3mg
4%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
8µg
9%
Calcium, Ca
334mg
33%
Choline, total
22mg
5%
Fiber, total dietary
2g
8%
Fluoride, F
35µg
1%
Folate, total
159µg
40%
Iron, Fe
4mg
22%
Magnesium, Mg
76mg
24%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
4mg
29%
Pantothenic acid
1mg
20%
Phosphorus, P
362mg
52%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
9µg
16%
Sodium, Na
650mg
43%
Thiamin
1mg
91%
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)
1µg
7%
Water
219g
8%
Zinc, Zn
3mg
38%

Pasta Shopping Tip

Italian food is about simplicity and letting the ingredients shine. So make sure you get ingredients that are great quality and flavor. Farmers markets and specialty stores will have great produce and products. Just be sure to have some great olive oil.

Pasta Cooking Tip

Unlike other highly regarded cuisines, Italian cooking is usually simple to make with many dishes having only 4 to 8 ingredients.Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation.

Pasta Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based desserts; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and other mildly sweet desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines with sweeter desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, port, madeira, late-harvest zinfandel, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc with chocolate desserts.