Charm City Cook: Fresh Finds at Baltimore’s Farmers’ Market
Ah…springtime at the farmers market. I’m so, so happy to see favorites like rhubarb, ramps, peas, fiddlehead ferns and more. I almost cried when I saw Mr. McCarthy, “the pea man” – he’s wonderful, almost zen-like. Before you know it, he’ll have those awesome beans, too. His asparagus and strawberries are so good right now, too! (Fact: He sells them for a dollar or two less than nearby stalls!
Here is one of my favorite recipes using springtime vegetables. To me, the fiddleheads give it great taste, texture and uniqueness…and the peas lend nice sweetness. If you can’t make it to the market to get fiddleheads, just use peas and asparagus! I’m a big fan of use what you’ve got, hon. Feel free to use any greens you have on hand, too. I sometimes use dandelion greens, arugula, etc.
Linguine with Fresh Peas and Fiddleheads
1 pound linguine
1/4 pound fiddlehead ferns
- 1/4 pound freshly shelled peas
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound baby leeks, washed, trimmed, and sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, stems removed
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just al dente. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, remove the papery particles from the fiddleheads. Fill a medium bowl with cool water; add 1 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice. Add the fiddleheads, and push them down gently into the water several times to clean them. Transfer them to a steamer rack in a saucepan and steam, covered, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft. Add the fiddleheads and cook 2 minutes more, until warm and golden. Stir in the peas, then the spinach. Toss the mixture with the warm pasta, season with salt and pepper, and serve.