With the particularly hot and cold (but mainly cold) spring we’ve been experiencing, it feels like we’ll never taste tender, fast-fleeting seasonal produce. But there’s an upside to Mother Nature holding out on us: more time to brainstorm all the delicious ways to eat springtime’s bounty.
Take curly little fiddleheads, for example. If you’ve lucked into a bunch of these tightly coiled fronds, it’s tempting to highlight their unique flavor with a simple preparation—boiled, lightly sautéd with butter, then finished with a squeeze of lemon. But Laura McLively from the legendary Berkeley Bowl Marketplace in California has a crispier, spicier way to dig into fiddleheads.
“Coated in a light, crispy tempura batter and served with a spicy dipping sauce, this spring treat elevates snacking to a new level,” she writes in her new book, The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook.
To ensure light, airy tempura fiddleheads, McLively has a few suggestions. First, when dredging the fiddleheads through cornstarch, make sure to lightly shake off the excess. Too much coating will obscure the fronds, while too little won’t give the same crunch. Secondly, keep all the tempura ingredients cold before mixing the batter. Lastly, don’t crowd your frying pan—if you can’t fit everything, work in batches.
McLIvely balances the crispy tempura fiddleheads with a creamy, spicy Sriracha dipping sauce. Sprinkle a little Togarashi on your freshly fried fiddleheads or even in the sauce, if spring swings chilly again and you’re craving a little more warmth.
Sriracha Crème Fraîche
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup club soda
- 1/2 pound fiddleheads
- Canola oil for frying
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
Have you found your fiddleheads yet? Share what you've done with them below!