Fish and Forage: Fiddlehead risotto and pan fried brook trout

After a couple of 80 degree days a week or two ago, we have not seen much of the sun. So far, there are no signs of black flies and wishful thinking has me hoping that maybe they won’t show this year! Foolish, I know. We’ve been taking full advantage of the warmer weather and getting outside every chance we get.

I love to fish but don’t get to do it often with two wild ones to look after. I caught my first North Woods fish a couple of days ago at the Umsaskis thoroughfare. I was being critiqued by my husband for not using proper technique with the open face spinning reel, when BAM, all of a sudden I had a bite. The beautiful 13 inch brook trout hadn’t seemed to mind my technique. 😛

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After fishing, we started our fiddlehead exhibition. I’ve been tempted all week by beautiful photos of fiddlehead recipes on foodgawker. When I waitressed at Helen’s Restaurant in Machias, tourists would ask for a description of the local vegetable. I always said they remind of something you might see in the swamp scene from Star Wars. The shape and detail of the coil like a vine that could release at a moment’s notice and recoil around any of your limbs. They are one of the coolest vegetables, and I find it very exciting to be able to search for your vegetable in the woods!

We were surprised to find what seemed to be an overabundance along the shore of Umsaskis. After picking about three cups, we headed home. I posted a picture on Facebook to double check with a few fiddlehead experts before I started to clean and cook them. When someone mentioned that the stem should have a groove in it like on a piece of celery, we knew we had been mistaken.

After a little help from some folks who know these woods better than we do, we were pointed to a spot nearby where fiddleheads have been known to sprout. A little while later, my prince charming walked through the door with a hat full of gorgeous ostrich ferns.

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IMG_0159After a quick shake in a pillow case, rinse in the sink, and blanch session, they were ready to be added to the creamy risotto.

I didn’t get a picture of the brook trout because the boys scarfed it down as an appetizer. 🙂

So thankful for the bounties the woods has to offer. Happy Friday, friends!


I use the risotto recipe from Joy of Cooking!



Rianne Ackley

About Rianne Ackley

I grew up in Downeast Maine but have recently relocated to the North Woods. I live in Clayton Lake where I am a stay at home Mom to two beautifully wild little boys and wife to a Maine State Game Warden. I am a lover of the simple things in life...a good book, a song, a rainy day, a bowl of white popcorn, etc. I have a slight obsession with all things food. Love cooking it, eating it, looking at it, smelling it, reading about it, etc. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it.