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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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiddlehe...

        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.

            2. Thanks for your replies everyone, I'll have to give them a try.

              1. I made them last night--Rinsed thoroughly and trimmed tails, blanched about 3-5 min. in salt water, a quick saute in olive oil until tender with a little crunch, and tossed in an olive oil vinaigrette.

                1. The secret is to blanch them - 3 or 4 minutes - in boiling water, drain and saute in butter or olive oil. Lemon juice if you like. The blanching water will turn almost black - but this removes much of the bitterness that some people find unpleasant. I used to blanch them in two changes of water, but I think that might be overkill.

                  And yes, definitely make sure you rinse them very very well before cooking. Remove the little scaly brown bits. Best thing is to fill the sink with cold water, throw in the fiddleheads and let all the dirt fall to the bottom. Gently scoop out the fiddles, removing the brown bits as you go.

                  Hurry up! The season is almost over!