Mother Earth Living

The Queen of Spring: Fiddlehead: Penne and Spring Greens with Lemon and Chive Vinaigrette

Fresh white and green colors please the eye while the flavors of spring tantalize the tongue.
By Pat Crocker
April/May 2000
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Serves 6

2 pounds fresh penne
3 quarts water
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fiddleheads, cleaned, trimmed, and steamed until tender
1 bunch tender dandelion leaves, stemmed and sliced crosswise
1 bunch wild leek leaves, sliced crosswise
1 bunch French sorrel, sliced crosswise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Lemon Vinaigrette
Seasoned Bread Crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, sauté the garlic in the oil in a large Dutch oven until it is light brown. Stir in the fiddleheads and sliced greens and sauté about 2 minutes or until wilted.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it and return it to the same pot. Toss with the greens, vinaigrette, and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the seasoned bread crumbs.

Lemon Vinaigrette

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lemon balm

Combine all the ingredients in a jar with lid or small bowl. Set aside. Shake well before using.

Seasoned Bread Crumbs

2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon balm
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon sage
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté the bread crumbs in the oil, stirring, for 3 minutes or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the cheese, herbs, and salt. Cover and set aside or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using.


Pat Crocker of Hanover, Ontario, Canada, leads walks in which participants learn to identify and gather wild herbs, then prepare them for a gourmet lunch. Her latest cookbook, The Healing Herbs Cookbook (Robert Rose, 1999), features culinary and medicinal herbs in timely, tasty dishes.

Click here to read the original article, The Queen of Spring: Fiddlehead.








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