May 15, 2009

Fiddleheads, Wild Leeks, and Grill-Worthy Sausages

CheeseB is an excellent place to find the best of seasonal products-- and now, Spring is springing all kinds of tasty things out of the ground and into our kitchens. Things like fiddleheads and wild leeks. Recently both Anne Yarymowich and Anthony Walsh incorporated these into their Festival dishes, and I was inspired to prepare some myself.

My shopping excursion did not end in the produce aisle, however, and this was not destined to be a vegetarian meal. At the recommendation of Agim Pristine I picked up some beautiful house-made sausages from the Deli. So many mouth-watering flavours. For me, it was "Truffle Hunter", made from farm-direct Berkshire pork and fresh Truffles, and one called "El Prado", made from smoked paprika, serrano ham, capers, olives, and Berkshire fat. These sausages seemed to be calling out "Grill me! Grill me!" and by my reasoning it would be cruel to ignore them.

Wild Ramps: Soaked, rinsed, and ready to go

Spring vegetable gnocci and succulent sausages

Alternate View, with a garnish of ramp leaf and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

After cleaning and trimming the fiddleheads and ramps I prepared them to go into the final dish. The ramp has its hairy roots trimmed off and is cut into lengths of about 1.5 inches. I reserved some of the leafy part to use as a garnish. I quickly pan fried them at a fairly high heat, to get a nice brown colour and not overcook.

For the fiddleheads I took scissors and cut of the brownish tip from the stem part and steamed them for five minutes, then placed in cold water.

The sausages were simmered in a little water, slits made, then pan fried in their own delicious oils, which becomes dark and rich and too good to waste. I made sure to give them a good coating of this stuff right before serving. It's one of those "evil" little tricks that makes cooking so much fun.

Gnocchi: made according to package instructions, tossed with the Mascarpone and a little butter (or olive oil) pepper, salt, then all the veggies.

This worked out beautifully. The leeks were as sweet as candy, and the Truffle Hunter sausage had a harmonious, subtler truffle taste.

1 package Gnocchi
1/4 cup Mascarpone
bunches of Ramp (wild leeks), quickly saute├Ęd (about 1 cup cooked)
1 1/2 cups Fiddleheads, steamed
1/2 cup CheeseB roasted peppers, sliced
2 tbsp.Butter
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

House-made CheeseB Sausages:

Truffle Hunter
Berkshire pork and Truffles

El Prado
Smoked paprika, serrano ham, capers, olives, Berkshire fat.

This weekend: John Higgins and Ryan Gustafson. This will bring us halfway through Festival 2009-- already! 12-4 pm Saturday and Sunday... something tasty is promised.

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