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Beef Stir-Fry with Fiddleheads and Spring Vegetables

Serves 2


    A simple stir-fry is a quick and easy meal that makes the most of fresh vegetables. This spring-inspired stir-fry leans on spring onions, the first fresh snow peas, baby spinach, and fiddleheads. Szechuan (a.k.a. Sichuan) peppercorns add a layer of complexity to this dish with a pleasing citrus flavour and a slight numbing heat. They can be found in specialty spice stores, but if you can’t find them you can still enjoy the gingery-garlicky, spicy heat of the other ingredients.


    Fiddlehead facts

    Fiddleheads are recognizable by their tightly wound coiled shape. The young shoots of the ostrich fern, they’re a foraged plant and often available at farmers’ markets or specialty grocery shops. Their flavour is often compared to green beans or asparagus with a sweet, grassy taste. Look for fresh fiddleheads with tight spirals. If any papery covering remains, it should be removed prior to cooking.

    Due to the risk of foodborne illness, fiddleheads should always be cooked prior to eating. Even when sautéing, it’s recommended to boil or steam them first.


    Beef Stir-Fry with Fiddleheads and Spring Vegetables


      • 6 oz (170 g) stir-fry beef
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) honey
      • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried red pepper flakes
      • 1 tsp (5 mL) cornstarch
      • 4 green onions
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Szechuan peppercorns (optional)
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely diced gingerroot
      • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
      • 4 oz (113 g) snow peas
      • 2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach
      • 1/2 lb (225 g) fiddleheads, precooked in boiling water for 10 minutes, and drained (see tip)


      Per serving:

      • calories334
      • protein29 g
      • total fat16 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates25 g
        • sugars7 g
        • fibre4 g
      • sodium347 mg



      In medium-sized bowl, combine beef, soy sauce, chicken broth, honey, and dried red pepper flakes. Take a spoonful of liquid and add it to small bowl with cornstarch. Stir until cornstarch has dissolved and then re-introduce liquid to bowl with beef mixture.


      Cut green onions in half where they turn from green to pale green and white. Slice green section into small rings and set aside. Cut pale green and white part lengthwise and then slice into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces.


      In piece of parchment paper or clean kitchen towel, fold Szechuan peppercorns, if using, and bash for a few seconds with rolling pin to crush.


      In wok or large skillet, heat sesame oil on medium-high. Add crushed peppercorns, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add white parts of green onions and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beef and marinating liquid and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Add snow peas and spinach and toss for a further 2 minutes to coat with sauce. Add drained fiddleheads and toss for 2 minutes more.


      Serve with rice or soba noodles and sprinkle with the uncooked green onion slices.



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