Right now, we're ripe with fiddlehead ferns. These interesting coils are harvested early to be used as a vegetable, and they are absolutely delicious. Check out some more info below:
These charming baby ferns have a very short season, usually starting in early spring when young plants are growing new leaves. They are tightly coiled in their youth, and if left unharvested, would bloom into new fern fronds.
Fiddlehead ferns taste similar to asparagus, with a hint of spinach. They have a unique texture, somewhat crunchy like cauliflower or, oddly enough, shrimp (in texture only!) Some people say they taste a hint of nuttiness, mushroom or artichoke. Alongside the richness of morels, their spring time companions, they will exude a greenbean-like flavor.
FIddlheads are very easy to cook! We don't recommend eating them raw - they should always be cooked. You can think of them the same way you think of asparagus: saute, steam, boil... it's all delicious! We like them with butter and alliums like onions, garlic, and shallots. If you're foraging, make sure you bring an expert along with you!
First, cut the tip of the stem off (you only want one or two inches of stem attached to the coil.) We recommend cooking sliced garlic in a pan with butter until it starts to lightly brown, then adding the ferns with another tablespoon or so of butter. Saute them until they reach your desired texture - not too soft! (We added a dash of black vinegar and some sesame seeds to the ones you see pictured above.)
They pair well with light cheeses like buratta, make an excellent pizza topping, and work delightfully in French dishes like omelettes with hollandaise sauce. Because they have a short season, many people will pickle them for use in salads, sandwiches, or as a side dish. If you're looking to add a new veggie to your vegan, paleo or keto diet, these are the unique ingredient for you!