Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh Fern...

Do you remember the fiddleheads?  The lovely green spirals we purchased at the Embarcadero last weekend.  Young tender unfurled fern shoots..

The trouble is that I although I love food, I am very cautious about eating things from the wild.  After careful research I found that this delicacy is also not to be prepared at random.  Cautionary tales of ill prepared fiddleheads and food borne illness haunted me as I researched.  It was everywhere.
The ferns apparently contain a toxin, which John assures me we would have to eat daily buckets full to be affected by.  Non the less, I wanted to be alive to tell of how these were to taste. They were so lovely and promised such a delightful textural, flavorful experience.  John had absolutely no fear and was ready to pickle and eat them parboiled as Mario says to do.   They must be boiled for 10 minutes, not sit in boiled liquid as the recipe states, I insisted to John.

I had been in search of gabbagol as Tony Soprano refers to it- or Capocollo as it is properly called.  After several attempts to order it at Whole Foods, we finally found it at The Roma Italian Deli on Lake in Altadena.
I was so charmed by the old Italian man behind the deli counter sitting amongst mountains of fresh baked breads and cookies I had a hard time remembering what I was there for.  I bought a pound of the meat and left astonished  only $12 later with two different kinds of cookies and the gabbagol.

The makings sat for several days and finally on Sunday the beautiful little salad of dandelion greens, capocollo and pickled ferns was presented to me.  Almost too beautiful to eat.
camera out the beauty must be captured.

 I first tried a fern.   My lips puckered salivary glands shriveled.   I chewed.  The texture was georgous, with hints of the anaise from the pickling.  But, it wasn't great.   I persevered...trying not to lizard spit. "try it with some gabbagol and greens, really it's the whole mouthful that is the experience."  Not convinced I ate carefully and draped the bologna like gabbagol in to the children's mouths.
Next time I will try to fiddleheads minus the pickles, very thinly sliced capocollo I expect them to have a taste closer to asparagus.

Just talking about this had made my mouth water with sourness...

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