TITLE FOUGÈRE #1 / Fiddleheads
HISTORY The fougère is a sweet, tender green vegetable. It's anglicized name is 'fiddleheads'. It is basically a fern... not just any fern but a very special fern found growing in areas close to rivers. As part of this, I hope that someone who is familiar with this species of ferm will share advice with us as to where to look for these fern and how to tell the difference between these fern and other types of fern which are not edible. (This is a big, non-subtle hint to my brother-in-law, Jim Ouellette who is an expert on picking 'fiddleheads'. And also, whether this is an Acadian dish or French-Canadian dish. And I wonder whether the Cajuns have something like this.

Fougère is picked in late spring when they are just starting to come out but have not yet unfurled. The fougère must be cleaned of course before it is cooked. There usually are paper-thin coverings on the closely rolled 'fiddlehead' that must be taken off. Fougère is preserved either by freezing or canning. 

This recipe is one from the Madawaska Historial Society's REUNION FAMILIES' FAVORITE RECIPES. Copies of the cookbook may be ordered directly from the Historical Society, Madawaska, Maine 04756. This recipe is a Pelletier Family Reunion recipe which comes from Geraldine P. Chasse. 

  • good sized batch of fiddlehead greens
  • water
  • salt pork
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vinegar to taste
  • PREPARATION In the spring of the year and located along rivers and brooks, gather tender (3 to 4-inches from the ground) fiddleheads. Clean; remove all brown skins and twigs (I usually sit in a windy spot where the debris will easily fly away). Wash several times, until the water is no longer brown or floating with brown skins.

    In a cooking pot, precook small pieces of diced salt pork and set aside. In another pot, blanch fiddleheads and then add to the salt pork mixture. Cook slowly until soft and light green in color. Serve with vinegar or just butter and salt and pepper.

    Dandelion greens can also be cooked in this fashion.

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