This time of year is a transitional one for local ingredients, so we turned to Josh Ziskin, chef and owner of the Italian-inspired La Morra restaurant in Brookline. The end of winter through spring can be a challenging time to write a menu, so he sticks closely to what is locally available — and right now, that means fiddlehead ferns.
Total time: 30 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes
1 pound fiddlehead ferns, well rinsed and trimmed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or the fresh herb of your choice: rosemary, basil, or oregano)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher or sea salt
Bring a large sauce pot of generously salted water to boil. Blanch fiddleheads for 4 minutes; remove to ice water for 1 minute. Strain from water and dry well.
In a large saute pan over medium-high add oil and cook shallots and garlic until shallots are translucent. Add fiddleheads and saute for 2 minutes. Add wine (if using) and reduce until about 1 tablespoon of liquid remains. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and generously season with salt and pepper. Add thyme and butter and stir well.
Recipe courtesy of Josh Ziskin of La Morra.
Annie B. Copps is a senior editor at Yankee Magazine. Annie oversees the magazine's food coverage, both as an editor and as a contributor of feature stories and columns.
By Cathy Huyghe
"Today’s dish packs some serious flavor punch, yet it takes less than 10 minutes of cooking time. It’s also one of those dishes that is as interesting to look at as it is to smell and taste. With its flavors, its quick ease, and its visual appeal, it beckons guests – whether they’re family members or visitors to your home – to hang out with you in the kitchen and sip a few bottles of beer as the whole evening comes together. Why not try Singha Beer ($8 for a 6-pack), from the first and largest brewery in Thailand, to cool off the heat of the Thai red curry paste? This full-bodied, 100% barley malt beer is rich with strong hop characteristics and makes, in its own right, for some very lively kitchen talk!
Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.
You may have a hard time wrapping your brain around pairing madras curry and olives, but if you think about it a moment, it really works. The French regularly use many of the ingredients that are in curry with olives—you’ve probably tasted the combination and not even known it. But you’ll see for yourself how well these potent ingredients harmonize in my Seared curried butterfish with warm olive chutney.
2 tablespoons madras curry powder
1/4 cup rice flour
4 pieces butterfish or other fatty white fish
3 shallots minced
1/2 cup mixed olives, pitted, minced
1 large tomato, 1/4-inch dice
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Canola oil for cooking
On a pie plate, combine the curry and rice flour. Season fish with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish fillets on both sides into the rice flour mixture. In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat coated lightly with oil, sear the fish until golden, brown and delicious, about 8 minutes total. Remove fish and wipe out pan. In same pan coated lightly with oil, saute the shallots, then add olives, tomato and orange juice and heat through. Toss with cilantro and serve 1 heaping tablespoon over each fillet. Serve on banana leaf.
Chef Ming Tsai is a local restaurateur and host of Simply Ming.
Wake up and smell the herbs!
Herbs are one of the quickest and healthiest ways to impart flavor to any dish. They release their fresh flavor when cooked in a dish and then help to reinforce that flavor when added to a dish.
Don’t be afraid to use herbs during cooking or as a way to finish any dish, and if you have any herbs left over, here is a great tip that I also share in my cookbook, Lidia’s Family Table. It will allow you to keep your herbs fresh and usable all year long.
—Divide the fresh herbs in an ice cube trays with deep cubicles.
—Pour cold water to cover the herbs and put in the freezer to freeze.
—The herbs and their flavors will remain embedded in the ice and great for plopping into any drink, or perking up any sauce or soup!
—You now have cubed your herbs for year round use!
To keep these herb “rocks” fresh all year long, seal them in a plastic storage bag and keep them in the freezer.
Lidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44."