Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fiddlehead ferns, ramps and turkey thighs

I had better success with my camera this time. As you can see, the fiddlehead ferns are so named because their coils resemble the carving at the end of a violin fingerboard (called the "scroll"). As for their flavor? They taste unlike anything else I’ve ever had. They are very mild, slightly crunchy when cooked correctly, and reminiscent of a mélange of other green vegetables. One blogger describes them as being a cross between asparagus and artichoke. That’s as good a description as any I can think of.

The ramps are a wild leek or scallion, but with a much more pungent flavor and aroma. It is said that ramps can be smelled on you even a few days after eating them. So eat them with the person you’re going to be with the most!

My method of cooking them is very basic: a simple sauté in a bit of olive oil and butter with the addition of a few pinches of salt and pepper (to taste, as always). After the first 6 minutes, add 1/4 cup chicken stock. When the stock has evaporated the ferns should be done.

This picture of a turkey thigh is a little fuzzy. Sorry.

The thighs came from a turkey we got the day after Easter for a fraction of the original price. That sucker weighed about 20 lbs. The thighs themselves were probably 1 ½ lbs. each!

Roasted turkey thighs
2 turkey thighs, bone in and skin on
salted and peppered water for brining
olive oil
black pepper
all-purpose no-salt seasoning

Start by brining the turkey for several hours. Rinse thoroughly and dry with paper towels.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the thighs with some olive oil and sprinkle with the no-salt seasoning. If you prefer, use some dried sage, oregano, thyme or tarragon.
Place on a wire rack in a baking pan and roast for 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Tent with foil and allow them to rest for 10-15 minutes.


Andrea said...

The ferns and ramps are beautiful! Well worth the $20 lb price tag :)

Andrea said...

Hi Stephen, yes I did get the address of the spice shop here in the Springs. The next time I'm downtown I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip :)

Jenn said...

I have never had fiddlehead ferns. I have seen picture of them, but never actually tried them. They look wonderful though! Very different...obviously worth the wait and the cost? :) Now, ramps I've had...Love them! Everything looks great! (by the way, my camera and I have this love hate relationship lately, I love to take pictures with it, it hates to take them in focus! Frustrating at times, for sure!

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