See those swirly twirly kinda dirty looking greens in the produce section at your local greengrocer? Wondering why they’re selling weeds? Well, they’re not. They’re selling fiddleheads and you’re lucky to find some. They’ve got a short season and you should grab ’em while you can.
So what are fiddleheads exactly? Simply, they’re the sprouts of baby ferns. If left to keep growing, the front would unfurl and grow into a big plant. But, if harvested early before they do, they’re a spring delicacy. If you know how to cook them, that is.
Fiddlheads are good for you (but make sure to clean them really well). They’re a source of antioxidants, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They’re also a source of Iron and fibre. A sure sign of springtime, they’re not cultivated, and are only grown wild.
One way to cook them is to boil or steam them. But I like them sauteed & steamed with garlic and lemon. Here’s how I make them.
(Recipe is for about 3 cups of raw fiddleheads)
Step 1: Soak the fiddleheads in cold water, roughly swirling them around in the water to slough the loose outer scales and to loosen up any dirt. Pour out the water and repeat several times. Then, put the fiddleheads in a sieve and rinse several times until they are bright green and look clean and fresh.
Step 2: Cut the icky brown end off the fiddlehead like you’d cut off the top of a piece of celery.
Step 3: Mince 2 tbsp of garlic. Heat about 1 tbsp of coconut oil (or your oil of choice) in a skillet that has a lid. Turn the heat to medium high. Add the fiddleheads and garlic to the skillet and season with salt & pepper. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over top. Sautee for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Step 4: Once the fiddleheads start to lose their bright green colour, turn the heat to medium-low, add a couple of tbsp of water, stir, and cover the skillet. Let the fiddleheads cook several minutes more until they’re fork tender but not mushy. They’ll turn a darker, almost greyish green. Serve immediately.
Have you ever had fiddleheads? What do you think?