1 lb/450 g fiddlehead ferns, rinsed and trimmed
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups white wine vinegar (substitute cider or rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 star anise
1 tsp Rainbow Peppercorn blend
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed chili peppers
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar (Demerara or Turbinado)
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
- Rinse the fiddleheads under cold running water and trim the broken ends with a sharp knife.
- Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling. Blanch the fiddleheads in the boiling water for about 30 seconds, then drain immediately and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain again thoroughly and place into a large non-reactive heatproof bowl.
- Peel and thinly slice the shallot into rings and toss into the bowl with the fiddleheads.
- In a large, non-reactive pot, heat the remaining ingredients to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour the hot vinegar/spice mixture over the fiddleheads. Allow to stand until cooled to room temperature.
- Cover tightly or ladle into jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks.