Who doesn't adore fiddleheads? When they are in season for their brief Spring moment, I try to eat them as often as possible because I know they are a rare treat to devour quickly, before they disappear, as quickly as they came, from the market tables. This recipe can be replicated using asparagus or any similar green vegetable that you have on hand, but do try to get fiddleheads as there really is no substitution for their bittter, earthy flavours.
Fiddlehead and Lemon Risotto
2 cups fresh fiddleheads, cleaned
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
2 shallots, chopped fine
2 or 3 large handfulls arborio or Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
1-2 quarts chicken stock
3 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated finely
1 handfull of chives
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 T thyme, chopped fine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a very large pan, heat 1 T olive oil over high heat. Add garlic, fiddleheads, salt and pepper and saute until soft. Remove fiddleheads from pan. Heat 1 T olive oil and add shallots season with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat until golden. Add rice and cook until translucent. Add wine and stir until absorbed.
Heat chicken stock to boil. Add by the ladle to the rice mixture, stirring after each addition until liquid is absorbed. Continue until rice is cooked al dente (with a slight bite to it). The mixture should be quite loose as it will stiffen up over time and with the addition of the cheese.
In a small food processor, combine half of the fiddleheads, chives, 1 T olive oil and large splash of chicken stock. Process until a paste forms similar in texture to a pesto.
Add zest, pesto mixture, parmesan and fiddleheads to rice mixture, stir well, adjust for seasonings and serve.