How To Cook Fiddlehead Ferns

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last night we cooked fiddlehead ferns, which was a new culinary adventure. These crazy-looking vegetables are only available for a few weeks each spring, and I'm glad we got the chance to try them. I was surprised to see that none of my cookbooks had recipes for fiddlehead ferns, nor did, which is one of my go-to resources for recipes. Thank goodness for Google and the wide world of internets. Here's how we ended up cooking our ferns:

First, I trimmed the long ends off of the ferns with a pairing knife and rinsed them in some cold water. Next, I blanched them in a pot of boiling water for approximately two minutes. I scooped them out with a strainer saving the water for some whole wheat pasta.

After straining the fiddlehead ferns we immediately dunked them into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking. Then I drained the ferns and dried them (in my salad spinner, actually). Meanwhile, we put the whole wheat pasta into the boiling water.

Once dry, they were ready to be sautéed. I heated a large skillet and added about 1/4 c. of olive oil to the pan, when the oil got hot I tossed in the fiddlehead ferns. After sautéeing the fiddleheads for a minute or two I added six chopped (not minced) garlic cloves and cooked for a few more minutes.

Then I pushed the ferns to the sides of the pan and toasted a pin of red pepper flakes at the center of the pan (this "hot spot" toasting is a favorite trick of Lidia Bastianich). Then I added the juice of 1/2 a lemon, a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper and some coarse salt.

Finally, we added the pasta to the pan and drizzled a little extra olive oil over everything and tossed. We topped the pasta with freshly grated Parmesean.


D&D said...

those scared me in the grocery store but now i might try them...! i don't like eating anything thats a "fern"

lola said...

haha. my mom goes and picks this at mt. Rainier every year. it's the main ingredient for a very popular Korean side dish called gosari. They boil and dry it so they can have it throughout the year. My mother picks so much that she's able to send boxes to her sisters in Korea. it's not cheap for sure. I like it in my bimbimbap. :) interested in trying it sauteed


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