April 12, 2014
It's Spring! Spring is here! This week was all 70 and 80 degree weather, bright sun, flowers, and sneezes. I'm in heaven. I'm also in San Francisco, but that's beside the point. This week I hosted Book Club, which meant I fed a group of people that I haven't cooked for before but who know I write this blog (not to mention the cookbook), which is a scenario that gives me panic attacks. What if they don't like what I'm serving? What if it's awful? What if I fail? My answer to these questions is to make something I know I do well, so I served up a grits bar and a Bloody Mary bar. And, despite my deepest insecurities, it was a hit. To add a little pizzaz to the Bloody Marys I pickled a batch of fiddlehead ferns, a Spring delicacy on par with ramps and garlic shoots. As my friend Katie described them, they taste like a blend between okra and green beans, the perfect taste of this fleeting season. A season I am whole-heartedly enjoying. Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns 1 cup fiddlehead ferns 1 cup apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp sea salt 1 tbsp green peppercorns 1 garlic clove, minced Quick pickles: Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water. In a non-reactive saucepan, heat all ingredients to a low boil. Simmer 10-12 minutes. Transfer into a jar/covered dish and store, refrigerated, for up to two weeks. Cupboard pickles: ed note: These ratios make 1/2 pint of pickled ferns. Multiply ingredients as needed. Begin by sterilizing your jar and lid in a pot of hot water. Set aside. Leave the pot of water boiling. In a non reactive sauce pan heat vinegar, water, and salt. Blanche the fiddlehead ferns and rinse in cold water. In your sterilized jar, combine ferns with remaining ingredient. Pour vinegar and salt into jar, wipe the rim down, place a clean lid on the jar, and screw band on tightly. Process in your large pot (with rack) for 10 minutes. Remove from water, give the band another squeeze, and allow to sit. Once the jars have sealed (you’ll know if you can’t pop the lid up and down), set them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks. They will stay for up to a year.