Fiddlehead ferns are wild, bright green, curly, and quite tasty with the proper preparation. They’re in season late spring and early summer. They must be cooked before being eaten, as they may harbor toxins.
Nyleve blanches them by tossing them in a large pot of boiling water, allowing the water to come back to a boil, and cooking for one minute. She finds that this method removes any bitterness. Both Nyleve and DBrooks sauté blanched fiddleheads with good olive oil and lots of fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.
jayt90 keeps it simple by steaming them and serving with butter and lemon. carswell says his favorite preparation gives fiddleheads a mineral intensity: Soak them for 30 minutes in water acidulated with lemon, then drain well, and slowly cook in butter in a skillet.
rcallner makes a pasta topping with blanched fiddleheads, morels, garlic, shallots, parsley, and a drizzle of white truffle oil at the end. “In getting creative with fiddleheads,” she says, “I find it helpful to think of them like asparagus, but thin and curly.”
Board Link: Fiddleheads