Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns (Vegan)

Feed me Seymour

Wild fiddlehead ferns

Remember those fiddlehead ferns I mentioned with my Chik’n Marsala recipe? These are they. Let me tell you a little something about fiddlehead ferns. They’re  magnificent and delicious, and, also, they totally look like aliens. Apparently they’re only available for about three weeks of the year, and mostly in New England, so if you’ve never seen or heard of them, it’s not surprising. I’d never seen or heard of them myself until I saw them through the window of the doorway at Whole Foods one day, and thought “That plant in the window, it’s simply amazing! Oh, while I’m here, I might as well take a hundred dollars worth of roses.”/nerdy Little Shop of Horrors reference

But seriously folks. There are some things people should know about fiddleheads before cooking them, and apparently some of them can cause GI illness if not prepared correctly, though generally speaking they’re safe and delicious. You just need to cook them thoroughly. And not eat them raw.

As far as what they taste like, they’re not very far from asparagus or broccolini, with a super green freshness, slight nuttiness and hint of bitter aftertaste.

By the way, this recipe is not my invention. I found it at Earthly Delights. But I scoured pages and pages of recipes to find ideas for the perfect simple treatment, and it wasn’t easy to find, so I wanted to make it easy for you.

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

  • 1 lb fresh fiddlehead ferns, tightly closed
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 1 tsp freshly ground sea salt
  • Ice water
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (or you could use regular butter for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Clean and trim the fiddleheads, snipping off the tough stems or any brown unsightly parts. Rinse in cold water – you may need to go through a few rounds of cold water until it’s clear. Meanwhile, boil two quarts of salted water and have a bowl of ice water on hand.

When the water is boiling, add the fiddleheads. Return to a boil and cook for only about two or three minutes, timing it carefully. Strain the boiling water and dunk the ferns immediately in ice water. Drain the fiddleheads and pat them dry.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. As it begins to bubble, add the blanched fiddleheads. Sauté for about two minutes, then add the lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

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