Chef’s Spring Favorite: Fiddlehead Ferns

By Rowena Tsai, Epoch Times
April 20, 2015 Last Updated: April 20, 2015
Who knew vegan dishes could look and taste so much like gourmet? Blossom, an organic vegan restaurant known for its dedication to creating innovative vegan dishes, is a breath of fresh air to the commonly underrepresented world of vegan cuisine. The restaurant debuted a new spring menu called In Bloom, creatively putting vegetables center stage.
 
We had the chance to ask Blossom’s executive chef Ramiro Ramirez about his favorite spring ingredient, and how he would use it in a dish. His answer: fiddlehead ferns because of their rarity. They are only harvested for a few weeks. In addition, they are a great source of vegan Omega-3s.
 
“We’re so spoiled these days with fruits and vegetables that are available year-round,” Ramirez said. “Fiddleheads remind us that there are seasons to our food.” 

Fiddlehead Fern Risotto

Serves 4
 
For the Risotto
  • 3 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 a white onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
For the Green Pea Sauce
  • 2 cups green peas (frozen is fine)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp salt
For the Sautéed Vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • 1 pound baby tri-color carrots (peeled)
  • 1 pound baby fennel
  • 1/2 pound fiddlehead ferns
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • salt and pepper to taste 
Mince onion. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the minced onion, sautéing until soft and translucent, but not browning. Add the dry Arborio rice, and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Add white wine, continue to stir. Add the water, and simmer on low heat until the water is absorbed. Set the risotto aside.
 
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Blanche the peas for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then submerge in icewater for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Remove the peas from the icewater and place in a high-speed blender with the 1 cup water, spinach, lemon zest, and salt. Blend until smooth, then set aside.
 
Finally, heat the vegan butter in a large sauté pan. Add prepped vegetables to pan and sauté on medium heat until beginning to brown. Set aside.
 
To finish the risotto, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the shallots and a splash of white wine, and sauté for 1–2 minutes. Add the finished risotto and green pea sauce, and stir in pan until well-combined.
 
Place the risotto on a plate, and top with the sautéed fiddleheads, carrots, and fennel. Enjoy!
 
(Recipe from Ramiro Ramirez, executive chef, Blossom)