It has been a fiddlehead frenzy here in the Kawarthas as they’ve popped up quite a bit earlier this year than they have in the past couple. Due to a drought. It didn’t really occur to me that the conditions we’ve been dealing with could be considered a drought, but it was and it’s over and here we are, elbow-deep in fiddleheads.
I have yet to see such a creature, but I haven’t exactly been chomping at the bit to put on my wellies to go foraging in what has been some really dank weather with all of five minutes of shiny in between.
Thank you, global warming.
Anyways, I did not go foraging, but my bestie did. And she brought me exactly one million fiddleheads because I am a spoiled rotten brat and she brings me all the good shit.
While I knew I had some fiddleheads coming my way, I had no idea there would be one million. I had dreamt up all kinds of things to do with them, but after a convo with the BFF about what to do with the funky creamy-spinach-chicken sausages I got in my meaty goodie bag a couple of weeks ago from the King Street Market. A convo in which BFF suggested lasagna, everything in my brain fell apart as I turned into some kind of vegetable-loving Garfield and decided the fiddleheads would become lasagna. A creamy, gooey, cheesy, that really highlighted the flavour and texture of the fiddleheads. This lasagna is that.
NOTE: Now, I did use some of those funky sausages and they were perfect for it, but you don’t have to. You could add more fiddleheads or some mushrooms or tomatoes. What I definitely suggest NOT doing is using an overwhelming sausage, like Italian or farmer’s or wurst because those will overwhelm. Lots of grocers and butchers have milder sausages, so talk to them if you want to go that route.
What you need:
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2.5 cups of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of dry, white wine or vermouth
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely diced
- 2 creamy-spinach-chicken sausages (optional – see not above)
- 2 cups fiddleheads, cleaned with any brown bits removed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 2 x 300 g tubs of ricotta
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- Another pinch of nutmeg
- Another pinch of salt
- 1 260 g ball of mozzarella
- 12-16 oven-ready lasagna noodles
What you do:
- Get your sausages sautéeing in a large frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat.
- In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, create a roux with the butter and flour.
- Whisk the milk into the roux, grind in a hefty amount of black pepper and let cook, stirring occasionally until it begins to bubble. This is your béchamel.
- Don’t forget to check your sausages.
- Once the béchamel has begun bubbling, whisk in the wine/vermouth, a pinch of nutmeg and Parmesan. Kill the heat and set the pot aside.
- Once the sausages are browned all the way around, remove them from the pan and slice them into 1/4″ circles or cubes – cubes will give you more coverage, but circle will give nice, bite-sized pieces.
- To the pan that cooked the sausages, add another tablespoon of oil, then the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, then add the onions to the béchamel.
- Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, then toss the fiddleheads in and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes, until they’re bright green. You don’t want to cook them through, just give them a little head start and green them up. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, oregano, parsley and a pinch of salt.
- Begin building your lasagna in a greased, deep pan (or two – I used two 6 x 6 casserole dishes). Start with a hefty layer of the béchamel on the bottom, about 1/3 of the sauce, then noodles, then 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then 1/2 of the fiddleheads, then noodles, then another 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then all of the sausages, then noodles, then another 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then the remaining fiddleheads, then noodles, then dump the rest of the béchamel evenly over the lot of it and top with slices of mozza.
- Place your pan(s) on a baking sheet and cover with foil.
- Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 15.
- Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.