Fiddlehead Ferns also called Ostrich Ferns are only available once a year in the Spring. They are usually found at Farmers Markets and health food stores. If you are fortunate enough to live in a rural area with woodlands and marshy areas. They proliferate in the Northeast and Canada in wild and wet areas along the riverbanks and stream beds. If you are purchasing them, look for ones that are a bright green and tightly coiled. Browning of the stems is a sure sign that they are old so don’t purchase them.
A few years ago I decided that I wanted to try to grow Fiddlehead Ferns in a damp/marshy area of our property. I purchased a bunch of Fiddlehead Fern plants. This is the first year that they have proliferated enough to finally harvest enough for a meal.
If you don’t have a place to grow these delicious little delicacies, check your local farmers market or health food store. When they come up in the spring they unfurl within a couple of days. Once they are picked or purchased the Fiddleheads will last a few days in the refrigerator. I wrap them in a paper towel and place them in a ziplock bag.
How to Prepare and Cook Fiddlehead Ferns.
The Fiddlehead ferns have papery scales that are easily rubbed away. Wash the ferns in cold water and trim the ends of the stems. Because the ferns grow wild, it is important to remember to make sure they are well cooked before eating to avoid ingesting any bacteria that may make you sick. Blanch the washed ferns in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes before you saute or roast them.
For another wild from the yard treat, try my Cheesy Roasted Hosta Shoots.
How to Saute or Roast the Blanched Ferns.
Once the Fiddlehead Ferns are blanched you can saute them in some butter. Sage Browned butter is amazingly good. Add some shallots or garlic to the butter and saute until fragrant. Add the blanched Fiddlehead ferns and saute for a couple of minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle on a little grated sharp Cheddar or Parmesan cheese. I also love to crumble on some Feta cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy.
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- 1 lb Fiddlehead Ferns
- 2 Shallots thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp. Butter
- ¼ cup grated Cheese (Parmesan or Cheddar)
- Wash the ferns is cold water, brush off any brown papery scales and trim the ends of the fern.
- Because the ferns grow in the wild, blanch the Fiddlehead Ferns in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This destroy's any bacteria that can cause a food born illness
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, Add the shallots and garlic (the garlic is optional)
- Saute until fragrant and then add the Fiddlehead Ferns and Saute until lightly browned.
- Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately.