Gray May spring delays don’t affect the spot prawn and the fiddlehead
As we suffer through the long sentence of a cold, rainy spring, we should undoubtedly offer thanks to Ma Nature for the comma foods of May: the fiddleheads and the prawns. Both go extremely well sautéed in butter and a little garlic, keeping the body fit to stave off the lingering chill.
One of my favourite home chefs first introduced me to fiddleheads and nettle while camping on Galiano Island on a much warmer Easter long weekend. A morning of stopping along rural roadsides and hiking trails resulted in afternoon nettle pesto crepes and a side of nutty steamed fiddlehead, a true menagerie of hunt and gather.
The tips of the ostrich ferns are once again alight with edible delicacies and I’m sure more than a few chefs will be featuring the vibrant green spirals on their plates in the upcoming weeks. Check at local markets and specialty grocers (such as Niagara Grocery or Fairfield Market featured in last week’s issue of Monday) or special plates at Ulla (509 Fisgard) or Aura (680 Montreal) as they will be the surest place to find these unfurled fortunes other than the Island’s own rain forest floors.
Fiddleheads are full of the good things we are given the go-ahead to consume: anti-oxidants, omega-3 and omega-6 and dietary fibres. Although only available for a few months each year, freezing and canning are also an option. Preserved fiddleheads are always an impressive addition to a pasta sauce in winter or fall.
Prawns — wild B.C. spot prawns in particular — are also freshly appearing on our local docks at the moment. Make sure to check in first with Pescatores (614 Humboldt) for some prawn scampi and the Marina Restaurant (1327 Beach Drive) for nigiri prawn sushi, and, of course, Red Fish Blue Fish (1006 Wharf Street) where you can wrap up with the freshest prawn tacones in town. You can also check in with Hi-Gear Seafood (27 Erie) off Fisherman’s Wharf in James Bay for any fresh catch off their usual crab and lobster runs.
A delay in warm weather should not pose delay in hungry wanderings to markets, docks and restaurants for May’s most elegant of fares. Put on that Cowichan Sweater for a comma-food pause in the season’s foodscape. M