Published by Kate Sen in the blog Kate Sen's blog. Views: 149

When I found out that the CSA (Confederate States of America?) would deliver to us some fiddlehead ferns, I was all excited to try a new delicacy.

"Be sure to boil or steam your fiddlehead ferns for at least 10 minutes to neutralize most of the poison." I read on the Internet. "Do not eat more than a few times a year, since even after boiling some poison remains. High in antioxidants, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids." Interesting combination of poisonous and nutritious.

"Used in Japanese and Korean delicacies." I read further, so I asked a neighbor about it, who praised the taste of the delicacy, and reminisced fondly how his Korean mother in law would brave the steep hills of nearby forests to collect these delicate fern fronds. Koreans must have better relations with their mothers in law to trust them to boil poisonous ferns long enough.

My coworker who served in Korea, long after the war, at a military base, did not remember the ferns, but sang praises of those huge mushrooms that grow on the side of trunks of oak trees there. "They look disgusting, but I thought what the heck, I'll try it. And once I bit into it, I have never tasted anything that delicious." The mushrooms that is, not the ferns. Were the mushrooms also slightly poisonous I wondered, served to foreign military?

Even before the ferns arrived, I could not help wonder about their taste. So I googled it, of course. Someone described it as tasting like a cross of asparagus and spinach with a hint of mushroom. I like shrooms. Reminded me yet again of my coworker's description of the best food he possibly ever tasted, those shrooms in Korea. And my mouth prepared to water in preparation for culinary orgasm.

Now I picked a fairly simple recipe that could not go wrong: steamed the coiled up ferns for at least 10 minutes, and then added a garlic butter to them.

They were right about the taste: much like asparagus crossed with spinach in a spiral shape. The hint of mushroom though required a more refined palate or stronger imagination than mine. You'd think garlic makes everything taste better, and the spice added by the promise of neutralized poison should have done the trick.

Next time I will buy asparagus and spinach I think, and add a bit of almonds for a hint of poison. Let the foreigners keep their ferns, but oh how I wish I could try those mushrooms that grow on the sides of oak trees in Korea!
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