By: Marie Nightingale, Saltscapes
(POSTED: May 9, 2011)

Springtime Fiddlehead, Ham and Pasta Toss

Yield: 4 servings


Half-pound (250 g) fiddleheads
3 cups (750 mL) medium-size pasta, such as bowtie or penne
2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) chopped onion
½ cup (125 mL) sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup (50 mL) chicken broth or dry white wine
one-quarter teaspoon (1 mL) dried basil
Pinch of dry mustard (optional)
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 cup (250 mL) cooked ham, cut in thin strips
¼ cup (50 mL) grated parmesan cheese


Thoroughly clean fiddleheads and cook in a large pot of boiling water for 15 minutes, until tender. (Keeping the cover off during cooking will help to maintain the vivid green colour.) Immediately rinse in cold water to stop cooking process; drain well and set aside. Start cooking pasta according to package directions.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms; sauté for two minutes. Stir in garlic, fiddleheads, chicken broth or wine, basil, mustard if using, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, checking to see that the fiddleheads are tender. Add ham and parmesan cheese; stir to heat through. Drain pasta well and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately.

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