Years ago while in college, I worked part time at a local Whole Foods. In that time, I learned a surprising amount about produce. I did not know there were so many edible items that grew from the earth. Fiddleheads, I believe, fit into that grouping.
I have to say, upon first glance, they can look as though someone made a mistake and inadvertently stocked the shelf with an imported species of centipede. That is not the case however. Besides, you want them to look all curled up and tight like they are hiding from you. That’s how you know they are safe to eat. (Once they lose the tight curl, they can make you sick.)
Now that I’ve scared you off from ever making these at home by comparing them to bugs and telling you they will make you ill, let me tell you about how I made them (and ate them!) in my kitchen.
Fiddleheads before cleaning
First, like I stated above, be sure the fiddleheads you are cooking with are tightly curled. Next, you will want to cut off the very tips of what is left of the stem. They tend to brown a little while hanging around at the produce section (think of it as a tan!). Chop it off, it makes for better aesthetics.
Once you’ve cut off the ends, wash the fiddleheads in a bowl of cold water. Get rid of any orange-brown leaves and/or dirt. I’d do this about three times, or until the water you’re draining out doesn’t have a lot of pieces floating around in it. After they are rinsed, you should boil them for about 10 minutes in water.
Add the fiddleheads, garlic, salt and butter in a pan and sauté until done to your liking. Plate, add some lemon on top and enjoy!
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1-2 tbs. butter
- salt to taste
Cut and clean the fiddleheads as mentioned above.
Boil cleaned fiddleheads in a pot of water for about 10 minutes. Next, strain from water and add into pan/skillet with garlic, salt and butter. (I’m sure adding bacon here wouldn’t be a bad idea either…)
Sauté until done. Enjoy with your meal by adding on some fresh squeezed lemon juice!