What to CookSpring

An Extra-Crispy, Slightly-Spicy Way to Celebrate Fiddleheads

5 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

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.

Wild Foraged Fresh Fiddleheads (2 lbs)

Wild Foraged Fresh Fiddleheads (2 lbs)

Blistered Fiddlehead & Green Bean Salad with Sherry-Orange Vinaigrette

Blistered Fiddlehead & Green Bean Salad with Sherry-Orang... by Elizabeth Stark

“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.

Fiddlehead Tempura with Sriracha Crème Fraîche

Fiddlehead Tempura with Sriracha Crème Fraîche

Food52 Food52
Serves 6 as an appetizer

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
  • Togarashi
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Go to Recipe

Have you found your fiddleheads yet? Share what you've done with them below!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Fry, Books