Fiddlehead Ferns, Ramps and Morels

Eric, Toby and I went foraging for fiddleheads, ramps (aka wild leeks) and morels on Sunday in Arlington and Manchester, Vermont.  Sadly, we didn’t find any morels; the earth was too dry at the time. Although most of the ferns had almost completely unfurled, we managed to collect several handfuls of bright green, tighly coiled fiddleheads.

We had the best luck with ramps. We probably picked close to two pounds.  I’ll never forget seeing ramps for sale for $14/lb. at a Whole Foods in Wayland, Massachusetts a few years ago. I remember thinking it was crazy to pay so much money for a food you could easily find in the woods.  I can only imagine what a pound of wild leeks fetches these days at a Whole Foods. Do I hear $20/lb.? (Going, going, sold to the sucker driving the Saab!)

I bought salmon steaks at the grocery store to prepare en papillote for dinner Sunday night.  I couldn’t wait to cook them with the wild leeks and fiddleheads.  Unfortunately, I could only find farm-raised salmon at Shaw’s, which I’m never going to buy again. It’s bad for the environment, according to Eric, and not nearly as healthful as wild salmon. It’s much more fatty and tastes more fishy.

I seasoned both sides of the salmon steaks with salt and pepper and placed them on slices of lemon on top of the parchment paper.  I topped the the steaks with fresh parsley and dill and lots of ramps, crimped the parchment, and baked the steaks at 350 for about 20 minutes.

This was a great way to prepare farm-raised salmon because the lemon, herbs and ramps offset the fishy flavor the salmon, which, I must say, came out delicious.  I served the fish with steamed fingerling potatoes and steamed fiddleheads.  The fiddleheads were so good!  They tasted so fresh and green.  The ramps tasted amazing, too.  I just love the taste of a roasted wild leek.

The weather this week has been conducive to mushroom growth.  Eric is going turkey hunting tomorrow, and I’m hoping he’ll be able to find some morels or maybe even some chanterelles while he’s in the woods.  I’m dying to make a quiche with ramps and morels.  Unless I go out tomorrow at lunch, I don’t think I’ll have a chance to get back into the woods to forage until late next week, and by that time it may get dry again and the morels may be gone.

Of course, I hope Eric will come home with a turkey, too!

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