Fiddle Head Ferns and Fennel Salad, With a Mystery

Sheila Connolly has several "cozy mystery" series out and I've enjoyed her writing thus far.  This newest series, the Victorian Village Mysteries, is outstanding already.  A real winner, judging from the debut, Murder at the Mansion.  I especially loved her blend of history, including little known background on Clara Barton, a bit of romance, an interesting premise - can a dying town be saved, and an unusual solve. It's the girl grows up, leaves town in a hurry and unwillingly comes back to help someone scenario, with a few fun twists. Connolly is an entertaining and witty writer.

Kate has a great job, managing day-to-day operations for a high-end boutique hotel on the Baltimore waterfront, when her high school best friend comes seeking help for their hometown.

Here's what the Publishers and a few Reviewers have to say:

"Welcome to Asheboro, Maryland, where the homes are to die for. . .

Katherine Hamilton never wanted to return to her dead-end hometown. But when she is called in to help save Asheboro from going bankrupt, Kate can’t refuse. The town has issued its last available funds to buy a local Victorian mansion. It’s a plan that Kate would be happy to help get off the ground. . .if only she didn’t have such bad memories associated with that mansion. Is Kate ready to do business―or is this job too personal for her own good?

Then, while touring the property, Kate stumbles over a dead body. Impossibly, the victim is none other than Kate’s high-school nemesis Cordelia Walker. Soon Kate is immersed in a murder investigation and with the history of the old Victorian. What secrets are hidden within its walls―and can the truth be discovered before the killer comes for Kate herself?"

“Cozy fans will enjoy Connolly’s characteristically warm treatment of small-town life.”―Publishers Weekly

“A new series that skillfully combines history, romance, and mystery.”―Kirkus Reviews

Food inspiration hit when the mansion's temporary caretaker, a history professor on sabbatical, whipped up,  from scant supplies at Kate's B&B, a loaf of Irish soda bread for an impromptu breakfast.  I thought it would be fun to make some myself.  It's been quite a long time, actually I don't remember when I ever did make a quick bread.  And, with St. Pat's is coming up, we'll be attempting some soon.  

For now, though it's a salad of Fennel and Fiddle Head Ferns, tossed with a smashingly tasty Shallot Vinaigrette. It seemed like something which could have been served at Kate's boutique hotel restaurant. The recipe is from Prune, Gabrielle Hamilton's cookbook from her restaurant of that name in New York, and reviewed here. Love that book! Note she mentions to be generous, as they appear only once a year.  Not if you live in Hawaii, where as long as some rain happens in between the sunshine, these ferns will show up in my garden.

A truly crisp and piquant salad, which I served alongside a delicious BBQ Pork hash, made from some left over ribs and potatoes, etc. Too yummy!

Will share this over at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event, coming up. Be sure to stop by and see what everyone else is cooking and reading.


Mae Travels said...

Fiddle head ferns in Hawaii all year around -- amazing! They are so precious during their brief season on the Mainland.

I enjoyed your review.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Deb in Hawaii said...

I love fiddle heads and used to find them at my local farmers market, but haven't seen them much lately. Looks delicious and the book sounds like a fun cozy.

Beth F said...

Lucky you to have plentiful fiddle head ferns. I like a good cozy, and have add this book to my ever-growing wish list.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I've never tried fiddlehead ferns. Interesting!

Tina said...

I've never had fiddleheads but have enjoyed fennel. I love a good mystery but haven't read this author yet,

Marg said...

I have never even heard of fiddlehead ferns, let alone eaten them!