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May 7, 2009 09:07 AM

How do you prepare fiddleheads?

Was at the market yesterday and saw them. I've never actually had them and have always been intriqued, how does everyone prepare them?

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  1. A good way to start with them is to treat them like you would asparagus - keep it fresh and simple. I like them steamed and tossed with a little bit of lemon butter.

    1. they grow really low to the ground and can be gritty. Give them a good soak and let the dirt settle out before you eat them

      1. Also, remove any slimy or papery brown bits and be sure to cook them for about 8 to 10 minutes before eating because of potential mildly toxic bacteria. Wikipedia has some good information:

        You can basically substitute them in any recipe calling for asparagus or broccoli but, as Wahooty noted, the simpler your prepare them, the better.

        1. I think my fam, of Chinese origins, fried them up with hot chili paste, (belachan, in particular).

          1 Reply
          1. re: jlunar

            i found this recipe
            It's similar to what my mom does to cook them up
            She has also dried them from fresh and reconstitutes them when they're not in season. I can't remember how those tasted but that's another thing you can do to preserve them. They freeze quite well too.

          2. I only had them once - I bought them many years ago and steamed like asparagus. As I recall, I found them bitter, and although not undercooked, stringier and harder to chew than asparagus. Hope you enjoy them more than I did!

            1 Reply
            1. re: greygarious

              That's a shame. According to my sources, the blanching for a few minutes is what gets the bitterness out, if you ever care to try again. I've only had them a few times (just moved far enough north to discover them a couple of years ago), but never had bitter ones.

              Tonight, I blanched them for about 3 minutes, then tossed them into a saute with some butter, shiitakes, ramps, and green garlic. Finished with a good squeeze of lemon. I felt a bit like a cow who had wandered off of the pasture and started grazing in the forest, but a very, very happy one.