Tag Archives: bacon

Fiddleheads and Bacon over Pasta

Mother Nature is a cruel mistress, as any Manitoban can tell you right now. We woke yesterday morning to a very pretty but unseasonable white blanket of snow covering everything in sight. But despite the snow, spring is still happening. Don’t believe me? Check the stores. For a very limited time, you can find fiddlehead ferns at specialty markets and small grocers like Vic’s Fruit Market on Pembina.

Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads are the very young, fresh growth of the ostrich fern. Fiddlehead season is limited to only a few weeks in the spring. Before fiddlehead season, the ferns haven’t popped up yet. After fiddlehead season, the fiddleheads have unfurled and become ferns. They also don’t travel very well, so they’re very much an “eat while available” seasonal food. And they’re harvested from the wild, so they are limited in supply, and can be a bit expensive. They are definitely a briefly available delicacy.

Because fiddleheads can taste very bitter before being cooked, you shouldn’t eat them raw. Instead, blanch them in boiling water for about 4 minutes and then shock them in ice water before using them. But aside from that difference, they can be used in many of the same ways that asparagus is used. Like other foods that are very seasonal and are only available in limited quantities, I prefer giving fiddleheads a simple treatment. This showcases the flavour that we won’t get to experience again for another year.

I have only found fiddleheads here pre-packaged for you. But if you get to select your own, pick out fiddleheads that are still tightly curled and not too big.

Fiddleheads and bacon pasta

For these particular fiddleheads, I made a quick and easy pasta dish. To make it, you will need:

  • 1/2 pound fiddleheads (or at minimum two nice handfuls)
  • 6 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • about 1 lb angel hair pasta

Boil a small pot of water for the fiddleheads, and a larger pot for the pasta. Salt the pasta water. Clean the fiddleheads by removing any brown skins and cutting off the tips of the stems.

Once the small pot is boiling, add the fiddleheads. While the fiddleheads are boiling, prepare an ice water bath. After about four minutes, the fiddleheads should be bright green. Remove them from the boiling water and put them in the ice water bath. Set aside.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium high heat. Add the bacon, and cook until it begins to get crispy. Tilt the pan and carefully spoon out all but one tablespoon of bacon fat.

Add the onions to the frying pan, and lower the heat to medium. Cook until the onion begins to get translucent. Add the garlic and toss well.

Add the wine to the frying pan. Let the sauce reduce. (If you like a richer sauce, add a pat of butter.) Add the red pepper flakes.

Toss the angel hair pasta into the larger pot of boiling water. Cook to al dente according to the package instructions.

Drain the fiddleheads, and rinse with fresh water again. Drain, and add them to the frying pan. Toss well to heat the fiddleheads through.

Serve the fiddlehead mixture over the pasta. If you like, serve topped with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Serves four.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipe

Eye Candy: Pancake Brunch

We are up against a deadline at work. No matter how much planning and preparation you do, your plans can be totally derailed if your work depends on other departments. As a result, I have been working a fair amount of overtime lately, and haven’t had much time for writing.

Last weekend, though, I did make time for a communal brunch with friends. One person hosted, while others provided sausage, bacon, eggs, coffee, bread, and all the other things and go into a pancake feast. We even had gluten-free pancakes for our friend with a gluten-intolerance. It was nice to relax, even just for a few hours, and stuff ourselves silly.

Orange Juice

Syrup

Pancake batter

Bacon

Bread

Bacon!

Eggs

Brunch

Leave a Comment

Filed under Eye Candy

Cucumber and Bacon Sandwich

Up until this week, the hot, humid weather we’ve been having has created a bit of a boom in our garden. Most vegetable plants love hot weather – the hotter, the better. So long as you keep everything watered, the plants are in heaven.

Bacon and cucumber sandwich.

One of our plants that has done better than expected is the cucumber. I planted one – ONE! – cucumber plant on a whim to fill in an empty spot. It’s now growing in a very weedy patch, and thriving. I think we’ve picked about 10 cucumbers from it so far this summer, from one plant.

What to do with all these cucumbers? Last night I had a bit of a brain storm, and came up with this idea: cucumber and bacon. Add in some lettuce for filler. It’s a BLC instead of a BLT! My husband made his a BLCT, so you could do that, too. This is dead simple, but if you want to make your own, you will need:

* cucumber, sliced about 1/2″ thick (about four slices per sandwich)
* lettuce (one or two leaves per sandwich)
* bacon (about two slices her sandwich)
* bread (we used whole-grain oatmeal bread)
* fresh ground pepper
* mayonnaise
* Optional: tomato slices

Toast your bread. Cook your bacon to the desired crispiness (I like mine crispy but not burnt).

Spread a thin layer of mayo on the toast. Assemble the sandwich: lettuce, bacon, cucumber, pepper, and tomato if you want. (I didn’t add salt because bacon is salty enough).

Eat.

An interesting conundrum came up with this meal: how do you photograph a sandwich and make it look good? I tried several different ways before finally just holding the sandwich up in front of me and snapping a photo. I love the website Scanwiches, where they scan the cut edge of a sandwich using a flatbed scanner, but I didn’t feel like digging out our scanner, plugging it in, finding drivers, etc etc. Anyway, I think this worked!

2 Comments

Filed under Recipe