The pickings at my local farmer's market were slim this week, but with Ontario asparagus, radishes, onions and fiddleheads for sale I know that from now until October each coming week will offer a new treat. I always buy fiddleheads when I see them because their earthy flavour is such a welcome taste of spring and they aren't available for very long. The trick to serving fiddleheads is to clean them well, removing all the brown papery flecks that cover the curled fronds, otherwise they will be bitter. I shake them in a paper bag a few times and then rinse them in cold water. If fiddleheads aren't available in your market, feel free to substitute. Asparagus or wild mushrooms would both work well. This recipe call for ramps, or wild leeks. I used small green onions, but you could use regular leeks. Heat the chicken or vegetable stock in a separate pot. If the stock is cold you will be lowering the cooking temperature of the rice with each addition and it won't cook evenly.Fiddlehead Ramp Risotto
1/2 cup ramps, finely chopped
8 ounces roasted bacon or pancetta, sliced and chopped
2 cups parboiled fiddleheads, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp oil
2 ounces butter
18 ounces carnaroli rice (you can also use a superfino arborio)
1 glass white wine
6 cups good quality chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 ounces grated parmesan cheese
1. In a heavy bottomed pot, saute the ramps, bacon and fiddleheads in the oil and a little butter for a few minutes
2. Add the rice and heat for a minute stirring gently to prevent burning. Add the wine and let it evaporate.
3. Add two ladlefuls of warmed stock and stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Keep risotto at a gentle simmer throughout the cooking. As the stock is absorbed gradually add more. Continue to add the stock as required until the rice is cooked. This should take about 20 minutes. The risotto should be runny but not liquidy.
This recipe is by Massimo Capra, a local chef and was printed in The Globe and Mail