Fiddlehead ferns are a complete delicacy once the air turns from chilly to cool, and I look forward to the season every year. Since they are only available in the early spring- similar to ramps (wild leeks)- people go crazy for them during the season that they are available. So what exactly are these green, coiled vegetables?
Reminiscent of the "scroll" at the end of a violin, fiddleheads are the curled fronds of a young fern, and if left alone, will turn into the fern plant that most of us are familiar with. While the adult plant has a tougher texture and not as much of fresh taste, the young plant has a delectable flavor and crunchy texture- similar to that of asparagus. They are an excellent source of fiber, iron, Vitamins A and C, Potassium, and B vitamins. It's also a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acid. My favorite way to prepare these little veggies is with a simple blanch and then saute, served with coconut oil brown rice and a bit of fresh tofu- the perfect way to celebrate spring!
What is a Fiddlehead? Plus Sauteed Fiddleheads Recipe
1. If fiddleheads are not cleaned, remove brown bits with a damp cloth and rinse thoroughly.
2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add ferns. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 7 minutes until bright green.
3. Remove ferns from water, and in a pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, and once heated add garlic. Stir until garlic becomes aromatic. Add ferns to pan and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about five minutes until browned.
4. Add fresh lemon juice and stir to incorporate.
5. Serve with brown rice and fresh tofu- or by themselves- and enjoy!