Monday, May 11, 2009

Fiddleheads - Bad, Chicken - Good

I had all the plans to roast brussel sprouts for my visiting family. My aunt and I decided to make some tasty, crunchy, oven-fried chicken, and roasted brussel sprouts would have been the perfect compliment.

But IGA didn't have any brussel sprouts. :(

I stood at the hole where the sprouts should be and that's when I saw them. Fiddleheads.

Pic courtesy of Wiki

I first saw fiddleheads at the American Folk Festival in Bangor. They were... umm... pickled. And even the woman manning the booth couldn't really tell us what was so good about them. They are ferns and only available for a very short period in these Northern parts.

Sadly, I couldn't find any recipes that just deal with fiddleheads straight out. Many of the recipes wanted me to use them in stew or some other dish. So... I just roasted them with a little bit of oil and sea salt.

As far as I'm concerned, needn't bother.

When I first opened the container, the fiddleheads smelled like wet camp. You know the smell... it's all wet and woody and dirty. And the fiddleheads were very wet themselves. They weren't crisp and dry like a brussel sprout or a broccoli floret, but I thought that maybe that would improve.

It didn't.

When they came out of the oven they smelled like hot, wet camp. Ugh. My dad and I ate a few of them. But they were not what one would call... good.

What was good... was the chicken. It was fantastic!

I made a crunchy coating of approximately 2c crushed Parmesan Basil Wheat Thins, 1/2c parmesan cheese, and 1t salt. My aunt stepped up and dipped the chicken fillets in egg and then in the crumbs. The chicken was baked for... about 45 minutes, but I don't remember exactly so check it at 30 minutes and then reassess.

Mmm... the chicken probably didn't need to bake as long as I baked it, but it was soooo tasty. The crackers have a strong parmesan basil flavor but it mellows a bit as it cooks. My mom didn't like the crackers for that reason, but she loved the chicken.

I'm definitely going to make this chicken again. I'm going to experiment with all the other Wheat Thin flavors, but then I might just go crazy with all crackers. Why not?!


Amber said...

The chicken sounds AMAZING and the fiddleheads made me laugh out loud, so I then had to show this entry to my future father-in-law. You should make them for a "Wet, Hot, American Summer" viewing party.

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

My mom used to eat fiddleheads all the time. My grandma was from Maine and cooked them a lot. I wish I could remember what she did with them. But, if I remember correctly, my mom loved them.

Kate said...

Fiddleheads aren't my favorite vegetable, but I do enjoy them from time to time. Hm. Perhaps they are an acquired taste.

Evan said...

"Hot, wet camp" sounds like one of the worst things possible.

Something to try: sun-dried tomato Wheat Thins. Delish.

Kate said...

Having grown up in Virginia you know I've never experienced these "fiddleheads" but I'm certain that must be code for something else far more dark and dastardly. Perhaps they were to be smoked, not eaten? Who knows.

Casey's Wifey said...

Ewwww. Those things even LOOK nasty. You're a brave soul for trying them. a "certain somebody" would like to make your key lime cupcakes when her new pampered chef decorating tool when it comes in...would you feel inspired to jot that down for her? lol. Email maybe? Facebook? I'm pretty sure that person would appreciate it greatly. lol.

Amber said...

This blogger had three entries tagged "fiddleheads":

Amber said...

This blogger had three entries tagged "fiddleheads":

Amber said...

ugh, why did it keep posting my comment?! embarrassment.

Ash said...

Haha, I always see those fiddle heads in the supermarket. I never even attempted to bother with those things. I only looked at them, thought about it, then moved on down the isle.
You're chicken looks good!!

A Slice of Concentrated Love said...

HAHA! I commented on the wrong blog entry. So if you see a comment on fiddleheads on another entry that was me being weird.

Amanda said...

I had no idea fiddleheads would get any comments from readers outside the state of Maine. Shows what I know!

Thanks for the link, Amber. The mushroom/asparagus/fiddlehead saute sounds like an infinitely tastier process than my roasting idea.

Casey's Wifey: I'm here. Text me. The key lime cupcakes are absolutely amazing. Worth breaking in a new gadget, for sure. :)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I've had breakfast, TWO lunches, and a snack... How do you make me crave that chicken??!?!?

Stef said...

I think fiddleheads look better than they taste. I always want to buy them cause they are so cute, but I haven't been a big fan of them once they reach my mouth.

Amanda said...

HTEAC: I can understand that. It was wicked good chicken!

Stef: No fiddlehead cupcakes then? :) I have great faith in your cupcake skills, but those things just might be an unacquired taste. Whatever that means. Haha.

pita said...

my husband's grand mother steams the fiddle heads. then add butter and salt and pepper. they are an acquired taste. i compare them to collards. most yankees don't like collards, and most sotuherns don't like fiddleheads.