Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns

certified holistic nutritionist Catherine De VosSpring is the season for Fiddleheads.  Fiddleheads are the young shoot of the Ostrich fern.  I used to eat these often when I was single, but for some strange reason, I have neglected them lately.  They are very nutritious and taste similar to asparagus. They contain high amounts of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium and B vitamins.  In addition, they contain numerous antioxidants. In this blog post, I am sharing this wonderful recipe for Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns.

Fiddleheads  are available in grocery stores right now, but if you’d like a free serving of them, you might want to pick them yourself, as they grow close to rivers and streams throughout southern Ontario and in many other areas across Canada, the U.S. , Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. It is said the Maliseet Indians of New Brunswick and Quebec ate them to detoxify and cleanse the body. Always make sure you have long term sustainability in mind when you pick them, so never pick an entire plant — you should never pick more than half the shoots in one plant.  In addition, always make sure you know exactly which plants you’re picking, as I have read that some ferns are carcinogenic.

Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns

1-1/2 cups fiddlehead ferns
1-1/2 cups asparagus tips
3 tablespoons coconut oil, or butter, divided
1-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well, and diced.
2 scallions, white parts only, washed and minced.
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups arborio/risotto rice or brown rice
approximately 5 1/2 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock
zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 c, freshly grated parmesan cheese

Start by preparing the vegetables. Boil a medium sized pot of water, and have ready a large bowl of ice water. Thoroughly wash the fiddlehead ferns. Then rub them in a kitchen towel to remove any of the brown paper-like chaff. Cut off any brown tips or blemishes. Rinse again if necessary.

Steam or simmer both the asparagus and fiddlehead ferns for about 12 minutes, until bright green, then plunge into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Note:  Fiddleheads need to be eaten cooked. Health Canada has released a warning to ensure that they are cooked for at least 15 minutes or steamed for 10-12 minutes.  Eating them raw can cause serious digestive upset.

Bring the broth to a simmer, then cover and keep warm over medium-low heat.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil and 1-1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, scallions, and garlic, and sauté until tender and almost translucent — about 5 minutes.

Add rice, and stir until grains are translucent at their edges but still opaque in the center, about 3 minutes.  Add the warm stock by the cupful, stirring until rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid before adding the next cup.

When rice is almost done (about 15 minutes), stir in the blanched and drained vegetables and the lemon zest. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of stock, then add the cheese and remaining coconut oil or butter.

The risotto should be creamy and tender.  Serve immediately. This recipe has been adapted.

Once you have tried this, please let me know what you think! I love getting feedback. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv  feature here on the site.

In good health,




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4 Responses to Spring Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns

  1. nike nfl jerseys cheap August 28, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Wow! I have never been so well informed about this subject, your article has opened my eyes about this topic and I hope to see more of this! Thank you.

    • Catherine September 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      thanks so much for reading, will continue to blog!!

  2. Catherine September 25, 2013 at 10:17 pm #



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