Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

My first season with FDC, I showed up for an early Spring pickup to find ferns on the menu. Being, as my son would say, a “newb” I turned my nose up and moved on to the safe asparagus.

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns

Fresh Fiddlehead Ferns

Fast forward to another year, another pickup, this time with a sample of Pickled Fiddleheads.

Ok, it’s a sample. Clearly it’s not going to kill to me… I fished out a little, curled frond and to the dismay of the same son, ate the plant. And it was GOOD! A total convert for all things fiddleheads I look back in amusement wishing I had the gall to try them sooner. For those of you who’ve yet to try them or just want to refresh with a simple recipe, I offer you Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns, adapted from the queen of home-ec herself.

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

24 fresh picked fiddlehead ferns
1 tsp coarse Salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee (I’m originally from the south, this is not optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste and optional (I don’t use pepper)

Prep the fiddleheads! Sometimes this is done already but if there’s a papery (almost tomatillo-like but less sticky) skin on your fiddleheads, take it off. You have no interest in eating that, trust me. Then swoosh your fiddleheads around in a salt water and lemon juice bath. Just put the coarse salt and tbsp of lemon juice in cool water and repeatedly, gently submerge your fiddleheads. Remove from water and let drain.

Steam fiddleheads using any method or tool of choice for about 5 minutes or until tender. Not limp, tender. Then melt butter in a skillet large enough to cook fiddleheads in a single layer for 2 minutes per side or until golden. Remove from pan and season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest if desired.

I hope you too enjoy this fresh spring taste. It’s one of my favorite markers to track the arrival of spring.

CSA Fiddleheads: Spinach & Fiddlehead Salad

From this:

To this:

We got fiddleheads, rhubarb and another round of eggs today (full pickup begins June 9th! Whoo hoo!). I was planning on making caponata for dinner (with fish? whole wheat pasta? I was a slightly unsure of what I’d pair it with, but Michael was requesting), however, the Trader Joe’s eggplant we bought went bad (very frustrating), and I couldn’t bear to have those fiddleheads hang out another minute in the fridge. Also, I was out of other ingredients. So,the answer was easy, really.

I did a quick Foodgawker search for inspiration, and found a couple of things that interested me. Also – Oh She Glows (you know I love her) had a recipe featured on the front page of Foodgawker, and I realized I had everything to make it. So, I made that for my lunch tomorrow, and we had a bit along with this, for dinner. Yes, I felt like you needed all of the little details.

Here’s what I did:

1/2 pound of fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed


feta cheese

Rubio balsamic vinegar

2 eggs

salt and pepper

coconut or olive oil

Place the spinach in a bowl. In a saute pan, heat your oil of choice (I have been using coconut a lot lately, for the health benefits), and add the fiddleheads and cook about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and about a tablespoon of balsamic. Simmer for about 1 minute more and remove from heat and put on top of spinach. Add feta.

In a simmering pot of water, poach 2 eggs. To do this, bring water to a boil, and add a splash of white vinegar. Reduce to a simmer, and make a little whirlpool in the pot. Crack an egg into a small bowl (it’s easier to add to the pot like this) and then add to the whirlpool of simmering water. Cook as desired. I like to leave them in about 3 minutes or so.

Remove eggs with a slotted spoon, and place on top of salad. Drizzle a little balsamic over each serving. And that’s it!