Ever take a walk in the forest in the Spring and notice young shoots of unfurled ferns? If you have, it’s a fern getting ready to open up. Before the fern opens it’s called a fiddlehead (resembles the scroll end of a violin). It is at this stage when the fiddleheads are picked and cooked. It’s a seasonal delicacy that lasts three to four weeks. It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact taste of a fiddlehead but think of something between a green bean and asparagus. One of the easiest ways to enjoy eating these unfurled ferns is to simply cook in melted butter with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pasta and fiddleheads go well together as does all-dressed fiddleheads or tossed in with baby gnocchi.
If you enjoy foraging for fiddleheads, make sure it’s the ostrich fern you pick as other ferns can be toxic. When prepping fiddleheads, be sure to wash thoroughly to remove any of the papery-like scales and trim the ends. Boil in salted water for 10 to 12 minutes before plunging in cold water. Once cool you can prepare the fiddleheads to your liking.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Buy fiddleheads that are bright green and tightly curled. Stay clear of any browning as this is a sure sign of age. Enjoy!
- 2 handfuls cooked fiddleheads
- 2 handfuls cooked short pasta
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- ¼ to ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- Brown mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant then add fiddleheads. Stir until heated through. Add pasta. Stir. Add ¼ cup yogurt and stir. Add more yogurt if too dry. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
- The Culinary Chase’s Note: Buy fiddleheads that are bright green and tightly curled. Stay clear of any browning as this is a sure sign of age. Enjoy!