Surprises sometimes await you in the wild. Though usually thought of as a springtime delicacy, I found a bunch of fiddleheads the other day while hiking near Snoqualmie Pass. A trail crew had passed through earlier in the summer, clearing brush from a popular destination. The result was a new crop of lady fern fiddleheads growing out of the stumps of the macheted ferns. Fresh chanterelles from a recent foray and a trip to Mutual Fish completed the picture: Fresh fettucini topped with lobster-chanterelle cream sauce and sauteed fiddleheads. Yowwww!
I killed the lobster with a supposedly humane method: numbed it in the freezer for an hour, then took a sharp knife to a point behind its head where lines in the shell form a cross and pierced it quickly. I dunno. The lobster was still moving but maybe that was just nerves.
Next I sauteed the tail and claws in three tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. By the time the meat was cooked the butter-oil mixture was a deep yellow-orange color like a farm-raised egg yolk and flecked with lobster drippings. The meat got set aside and the butter poured into a larger pan in which I sauteed and seasoned a large diced shallot, a couple cloves of minced garlic, and a pound of rough-cut chanterelles. After several minutes of cooking on medium-high I deglazed with a few splashes of sherry, maybe a quarter cup in all, spiced with fresh chopped tarragon and thyme and a good pinch of red pepper flakes, then slowly added a cup of heavy cream, stirring frequently. The cooked lobster meat was then cut up and added back into the sauce before pouring over fresh fettucini with grated parmesan. Chopped parsely and sauteed fiddleheads topped the sauce.
I don't have to tell you it was good, though Marty thinks I'm on a suicide mission with all these cream sauces. Not true. Such an artery-buster did require a good red wine, so I busted out the bottle of Walla Walla Spring Valley Uriah my brother Whit gave me last year. I'm a believer in the French Paradox. Besides, foraging is good exercise.