What are your favorite fiddlehead recipes?
May 26, 2010 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Okay, the fiddleheads in my local market looked so delicious -- so green, so fresh, so inviting -- that I bought a whole bunch. Now I realize: I have no idea what to do with them. Help me make something wonderful out of all these fiddleheads, please?

What are your favorite things to do with fresh fiddleheads? I'm told "treat them like asparagus" but I'd like to hear more ideas.
posted by .kobayashi. to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Steam them or sautee them. They're delicious either way. (Especially with some lemon juice and garlic).
posted by JMOZ at 10:41 AM on May 26, 2010

Ah yes, blanching them first (as Phalene suggests, but note this first boil should be very short) is a good idea to prevent bitterness.
posted by JMOZ at 10:41 AM on May 26, 2010

Quick saute with shallots, salt and cracked pepper. Oh baby...
posted by dirtdirt at 10:42 AM on May 26, 2010

Honestly, the best way to eat them is pretty simple: Just steam or gently boil them and then sprinkle some salt, pepper, and freshly grated cheese over them.

That said, JMOZ's sauteed suggestion sounds good, too. Maybe with some caramelized onion.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 10:47 AM on May 26, 2010

Well, depending on how big they are, you will probably need to par-boil them.

I would saute, especially with morels, with some shallot, maybe a little cream. Eat with a steak.

There is also a little toxin they carry and if not cooked enough (either boiled or sauteed) you may get the runs and an upset stomache: article on it.

Don't overcook them though.

They may be a little bitter, in which case a little acid will help- lemon juice preferably.

They also love bacon!
posted by TheBones at 10:47 AM on May 26, 2010

Saute in butter with some garlic/white wine/shallots (pick one) in the pan
posted by anastasiav at 10:50 AM on May 26, 2010

posted by knile at 10:52 AM on May 26, 2010

We got some in our farmshare a couple weeks ago, never having had them before. What I did:

-Cleaned them very well, removing all the black or brown leafy bits
-Sauteed them in a pan with butter
-Squeezed a lemon over them

That's it! Pretty tasty, actually, but I don't know if I'd deliberately seek them out. I also saw a bunch of recipes for pickling them.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:05 AM on May 26, 2010

Mmm. I had fiddleheads last night. This is what we did:

1. Rinsed the fiddleheads under cold water
2. Put in a bowl and mixed with olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic and a splash of red wine
3. Threw on the barbecue in a vegetable basket (like this one)
4. Grilled on medium heat for about.. 8 minutes? As long as it takes to cook a reasonably thin lamb burger.

I hope this helps!
posted by valoius at 11:14 AM on May 26, 2010

Quick saute with shallots, salt and cracked pepper. Oh baby...

posted by Lutoslawski at 11:20 AM on May 26, 2010

I don't know if this is actually a rule, but anecdotally: I knew some folks who (as you) bought some delicious-looking fiddleheads at a farmers' market and all got sick eating them because they didn't cook them thoroughly enough. Apparently one should boil them first? Just thought I'd mention it.
posted by pemberkins at 11:26 AM on May 26, 2010

Best answer: I'm from Maine, where the location of fiddlehead patches are closely guarded family secrets. A kind neighbor might give you a plastic bag full of them, and you are expected to thank them graciously but you must never ask where they were picked.

First step is always boiling them. I start at three minutes, and then check every minute or so after that. Many greens are best when they are rendered their most vibrant. Fiddleheads you want to boil about a minute after you see the brightest green. Undercooked fiddleheads don't taste very good and will cause digestive distress if you eat enough.

They're excellent with a pat of butter, salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar. But you know this.

Add a glug of maple syrup to the above, and you get something totally different and really nice.

They're fantastic chopped into pencil-eraser sized bits and sauteed with garlic and olive oil and served over bow-tie pasta. (Boil them first as described above, but don't leave them in for the extra minute). A sweet white wine (like a riesling) is nice with this.

My favorite thing to make with them is rissoto-- find a simple recipe with arboro rice, stock and hard cheese. Add the full-boiled fiddleheads at the end, roughly chopped.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

My favorite Japanese restaurant serves them with a splash of soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon.
posted by fixedgear at 11:51 AM on May 26, 2010

I had fiddleheads on a very thin crisp-crust pizza this spring. It was made by Alex Guarnaschelli. I asked her about the crust, because it was almost wonton wrapper crisp and she sears it first before topping. The pizza also had olive oil and fresh ricotta. It was delicious.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:48 PM on May 26, 2010

I love them pickled. Although definitely take the advice and boil them first as mentioned above. Also, risotto sounds amazing. I may have to try that!
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 12:50 PM on May 26, 2010

Treat them like asparagus (asparagus is a fern, after all).

In Japan & Hawaii they're called warabi. The salad I see most has warabi, roma tomatoes, sweet onions, and a dressing of sesame oil, soy, and sesame seeds. Some people add a splash of chile water or dried shrimp.

It's excellent!
posted by kanewai at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2010

My mom sautes them in butter with chopped chanterelles, and it's absolutely fantastic. I could get the specifics from her, if you want, but I don't think there's much more to it than that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:28 PM on May 26, 2010

Oh, I forgot -- she serves that on angelhair pasta.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:28 PM on May 26, 2010

I cook them in the following way:
Take some bacon, at least a couple thick pieces. Cut it up into small pieces and cook it in a medium-hot pan for 5-8 minutes, until pretty crispy. Drain off some of the fat if needed, add washed and trimmed fiddleheads and a clove or two of finely-chopped garlic. Stir and cover for 3-4 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until crispy.
This works well when the fiddleheads don't make much more than a thin layer on the bottom of the pan, and you let the bacon get fairly crispy before adding them. It's still pretty good even if you don't get them fully crisped.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:16 PM on May 26, 2010

Do 'em French-style, similar to asparagus: wash them and remove that paper-like covering, rinsing a second time afterward. Steam until crisp-tender, shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Brown some butter--really brown it but don't burn-burn it. Season the fiddleheads and then toss to coat with the browned butter and add cheese.
posted by ifjuly at 10:41 AM on May 27, 2010

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