This simple sauté highlights the fresh flavor of fiddlehead ferns with a savory richness of browned garlic. If you choose to use the garlic or shallot, slice them rather than finely chop or mince them—the bigger pieces will keep their flavor from overwhelming the pretty ferns.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
- 1 Tablespoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
- 2 teaspoons butter or vegetable oil
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 1 small shallot, sliced (optional)
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (completely optional)
- Trim and rinse the fiddleheads, removing any brown ends or mushy parts.
- In a large pot bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add the salt and cleaned fiddleheads. Cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. This process of blanching removes the bitter edge of fiddleheads.
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the fiddleheads. Cook, stirring, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic or shallots and red pepper flakes, if you like, and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and just starting to color, about 1 minute. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.