On a quick swing through the farmer’s market to pick up asparagus for ravioli, I was searching for something to serve as an appetizer. Spring onions caught my eye. Those with red coloring were particularly attractive – these are red onions picked young before the bulb is fully formed.
Leaving the market, I passed by the Far West Fungi booth, which always catches my eye because of the varied and interesting mushrooms on display. This weekend, a box of fiddlehead ferns was front and center. These furled fronds of a young fern were hard to resist, since availability is limited to just few weeks in early spring. I grabbed a couple handfuls thinking the fiddleheads could be combined with the spring onions already in my bag, to make a single appetizer dish.
Spring onions can be cooked or eaten raw. After being trimmed and anointed with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, these were roasted in the oven.
Foraged fiddlehead ferns may harbor microbes and for this reason should be cooked – boiled or steamed – to prevent the possibility of foodborne illness. After cleaning and trimming, the ferns were cooked in boiling water for 5 minutes, then finished in a sauté pan with the usual suspects – olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
I served the grilled spring onions and sautéed fiddlehead ferns with a couple of (optional) prosciutto slices. The prosciutto was a nod to my particular preference for enjoying at least a little bit of protein with my meals. The combination makes a nice starter and takes advantage of the rarely available fiddlehead fern.