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Author Notes: The very first crop of fiddleheads can make you forget all about the long, hard winter you may have just had. Here is a simple recipe to enjoy them. I like to use butter or olive oil lightly to accent and highlight the fiddlehead flavor. I do not prefer a neutral oil here, but feel free to make that switch. If there are ever any leftovers, I simply add a splash of blood orange or champagne vinegar and chill them as instant pickles. With such a short season, these become dinner for a few special weeks. And yes, you could pickle them to extend the season, but they are low acid. Pressure cooking is recommended for safety. Don't bother to freeze them: simply enjoy them fresh instead. —Sagegreen
Makes 1 pound
cups fresh harvested fiddlehead ferns, washed, dry
tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
teaspoons Meyer lemon (or blood red orange juice) to taste
teaspoons Meyer lemon (or blood red orange zest) to taste
dash of sea salt or Maldon sea flakes
- If your fiddleheads are not absolutely clean and fresh, wash them well; then cut off any tough stems. Perhaps, very quickly, blanch them first. But if they are very clean and fresh, which is really what you want, you can proceed right to sauté: Heat the olive oil or butter. Add the fiddleheads, a sprinkle of the salt, and sauté gently for about 5 minutes, or just until tender, still vibrant green with a bit of snappy crunch left. Turn off heat.
- Layer in the citrus juice and the zest very lightly to accent, not drown the fiddleheads. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve while warm. Add a side of soft, scrambled eggs and you have an easy spring dinner, enjoy on a fresh crusty baguette, or maybe serve with a spring lamb dinner.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Vegetable Recipe