Fiddlehead ferns are a late-spring crop with a delicate flavor. They must be cooked before they're eaten or they can cause stomach discomfort. They must also be cleaned thoroughly, as they harbor lots of dirt. JoanN recently followed instructions to blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes to get rid of dirt and bacteria. "Not sure I'd done that before," she says, "but I will from now on. Was shocked at how much dirt and gunk was in the bottom of the pot. Even after rinsing and trimming."
downtownfoodie likes to treat fiddleheads very simply, to highlight their fresh flavor. He steams them over salted water for a few minutes, until not quite cooked, then sautés for another minute in butter, and finishes with a squeeze of lemon and some sea salt. GoodGravy gilds steamed and sautéed fiddleheads with cream seasoned with anchovies: Grind an anchovy or two with garlic in a mortar and pestle, reduce some cream, and stir in the anchovy-garlic mixture.
JoanN thinks fiddleheads and asparagus sautéed together in olive oil with slivered garlic make a lovely combination; squeeze lemon juice over all. And Passadumkeg notes that many asparagus recipes will work with fiddleheads. Cat123's favorite recipe is this fiddlehead chowder.
Discuss: ISO: Fiddlehead recipes