Fiddle fern recipe?



ChefJune April 20, 2011
For years I wondered what the big deal was with Fiddlehead Ferns. To me they had a weird, not particularly appealing "green" taste. Then Farmer Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm (who brings a lot of them to the Union Square Greenmarket each spring) told me they needed to be blanched first! EUREKA! Now we like them a whole lot! And the blanching also helps remove the little brown "nougies" that get stuck in the fiddlehead.

If you can splurge, get a few morels to go with, and saute them up with onions, and a mix of mushrooms for a beautiful springtime side dish. Better yet, cook up some bucatini and use the veggie mix as your sauce. You've got a whole meal with just a dab of freshly grated Pecorino cheese. ;)
beyondcelery April 19, 2011
I'm with Peter. My favorite way is to saute a bit of chopped garlic in olive oil, add the ferns and toss around till bright green--maybe 5-6min. Cover in salt and black pepper, with a dash of fresh lemon juice. Broil briefly (30 seconds, if that) or singe with an open flame to get the edges just slightly dark, if you like. Serve with poached eggs and toast spread with a soft goat cheese.

I just had a heavenly asparagus dish the other night, at the restaurant where my husband works. It was basically asparagus prepared similarly to the above, but sauted with grated Graviera cheese. Now I'm on the hunt for Graviera.
Greenstuff April 19, 2011
Fiddlehead ferns were a Mother's Day favorite for my family when we lived in New England. The ones on the West Coast start a little earlier. The haricots verts analogy is a really good one. Asparagus is another. You could use Amanda's asparagus recipes, lightly sautéing them in butter and adding lemon and or spicy peppers. Or lightly steaming them is also good. The pinwheel shape is lovely in a quiche or a tart. They're also nice in salads--just don't add a dressing too soon, as they discolor in vinegar.
boulangere April 18, 2011
I'm with Peter. I've had them prepared by my sister-in-law in Connecticut in the spring - lightly braised in butter and minced garlic. Heavenly!
Peter April 18, 2011
Betteirene, they're not so expensive as that in NYC at Whole Foods or the Union Square Farmers Market.

As far as a recipe for them, I treat them as I would haricot verts... Saudade in olive oil with maybe a little garlic or anchovy and lemon.
betteirene April 18, 2011
How are you able to afford them? Aren't they like $20 a pound? Or do you have a secret stash in the woods somewhere?

Fry some a couple strips of bacon or some prosciutto until crisp, remove from the pan and set aside. Add diced onion to the pan and cook until soft. Add some miinced garlic. Spoon off the accumulated grease and replace it with butter. Add the bacon and the fiddleheads and cook until tender-crisp.

Essentially, anything you can do with asparagus you can do with fiddleheads.
francesca G. April 18, 2011
Apparently fiddle ferns are typically found in Indonesian cuisine so perhaps a stoup of coconut milk, lemongrass, tumeric, and other spices would be a way to go here? Where did you find them?!
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