Lemon Risotto with Fiddlehead Ferns

I first heard about fiddlehead ferns last year and have been practically stalking the produce section at Whole Foods, waiting for their arrival. If you are not familiar with them, they are the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested along the eastern United States from Virginia up north to Canada. They are only available for a short 2 weeks in any area, so if you see them, grab them! If you don't live where they are grown naturally, no fear, you can purchase them here during their growing season.

If you can't find fiddlehead ferns or don't want to shell out the cash for delivery, feel free to substitute additional asparagus and leeks. Just don't miss out on this risotto!

Lemon Risotto with Fiddlehead Ferns
adapted from Apartment Therapy . serves 6

2 c fiddlehead ferns, well washed
1 c white asparagus (or green), cut into 1" pieces
6 c vegetable broth
3 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped & washed
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 c arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine (or white cooking wine)
the juice of 1 lemon
the zest of 1 lemon
1 c grated pecorino romano (or parmesan) cheese
black pepper, to taste
1/2 c chopped walnuts, toasted

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add fiddlehead ferns and asparagus and cook 2 minutes. Drain and transfer immediately to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking process.

In a small saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil, turn down heat and keep at a low simmer. Heat 2 T butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic and sauté, 2 minutes. Add rice, white wine and lemon juice, cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1 c simmering stock. Cook at a strong simmer, stirring, until absorbed, about 4 minutes. Continue adding stock, 1 c at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy, 20 minutes. Add the last cup of broth, fiddlehead ferns and asparagus. Stir well.

Turn off heat and stir in 1 T butter, lemon zest and cheese. Season to taste with pepper and top with walnuts.


Dana said...

Those are all over our local markets and I just can't eat them. They remind me too much of a bug and I am veg so can't go there. Are they really that good?

fresh365 said...

Haha Dana! I know I was torn between thinking they looked fun and thinking they looked like worms! But they are quite tasty and have a good crunch (unlike worms!).

Alana said...

what?! i've never heard of such a thing. (the ferns) the whole dish looks tasty so i will try it with asparagus... i can never get enough asparagus anyways! but i hope to get a hold of those ferns someday.

Chloe said...

Can I just say - I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR BLOG!! So happy that you started blogging. Love everything you post.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance said...

I just posted about these bad boys the other day! So happy I finally tried fiddleheads! http://www.findyourbalancehealth.com/2009/05/a-mouth-full-of-springtime/

Seana said...

Hi Erin, I can't wait for your June menu, our CSA begins in June and I am so excited to try ALL of your recipes! Love your blog, its just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious - and I love fiddle heads with lemon!

Pippi Langstrumpf said...

Wow. This looks super intriguing! I've never seen edible ferns before. It looks amazing.

Shelley Greenberg said...

I've been wanting to try fiddlehead ferns for years now, ever since I first saw them in the grocery store. They are funny looking - but that only makes me more curious.

Anyways, I bought all the ingredients for this at the grocery this weekend and am planning on making this tonight! Can't wait. :)

fresh365 said...

Chloe, Well, that may just be the nicest comment ever!!! Shelley, let me know how it turns out!

tiina said...

Love this recipe! I'm totally addicted to risotto now. I have made so many versions of it but not this one. Have to give it a shot♥

Chrisitne said...

Hi, Erin

This looks soooo good. Will definately go out and see if I can find some fiddlehead ferns to try. Never had these before, and didn't even know they existed. If i can't find them, will try it with the asparugus