Fiddleheads alone might just taste like grass, but in combination with a few other spring vegetables, they make a delicious ragout. The amounts of the vegetables in this recipe are pretty flexible, so if you have half a cup more or less peas or fiddleheads, don't worry.
• 1 yellow or white onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 bunch asparagus, sliced into bite-sized pieces
• 1 cup English peas (shelled)
• ½ cup fiddlehead ferns
• olive oil
• 1⁄3 cup vegetable broth
• Parmesan cheese
• 1 pound pasta (a large shell shape is best, to catch the peas)
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta.
In a large, heavy-bottomed sauté pan or cast iron pan, heat about four tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until it is soft and browning.
Add the asparagus and cook for about three to five minutes. Add the fiddleheads and peas and cook for about three to five minutes more.
Add the vegetable broth and about half a teaspoon of salt (to taste) and cook for another 10 minutes or so, or until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the vegetables in the sauté pan. Toss until the pasta is coated with sauce, and the vegetables are distributed throughout. Add the Parmesan, and toss again.
Serve with more Parmesan for each person.
To read Anastatia's piece about how she learned to like fiddlehead ferns by cooking this dish, click here.