Roasted Fiddlehead Ferns highlight these seasonal gems so well. Have you ever tried fiddleheads? They are only available a few short weeks of the year.
Depending on where you live you might not even know what they are. Fiddleheads are actually ferns that are used as vegetables. You can find them in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but they are very seasonal and disappear fast.
ROASTED FIDDLEHEAD FERNS RECIPE INGREDIENTS
A simple recipe that showcases these tasty little gems. You will need:
- fresh fiddlehead ferns
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- feta cheese
As a child, I remember my mom actually going off into the woods and picking fresh fiddleheads. The first time she did this I thought she brought weeds home for us to eat. This wild produce was certainly much different than the morel mushrooms she would pick.
This little edible fern also called “ostrich fern” can be a little difficult to find. The fiddlehead season is VERY SHORT. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on some, be sure to grab them! Your best bet is the checking out your local vegetable markets. Some grocery stores will carry them. You can also SOMETIMES find frozen ones in specialty stores.
If you have never eaten fiddlehead ferns, let me try to explain what they are like. They sort of have the texture of asparagus with an earthy flavour. They are very fragile, meaning they don’t keep long, so it’s best you use them as soon as possible.
I am always excited to find these in the store or market. Unlike my mom, I have yet to venture into the woods to pick them for myself. I try to make sure I get my seasonal fill when these are available. I think they are the cutest little things ever.
ARE FIDDLEHEADS TOXIC?
Fiddleheads have to be cooked before you can eat them. It is not advised to eat them raw as they can contain bacteria, so cooking them will kill any bacteria that may be on them. From a nutrition standpoint, fiddleheads really are a superfood. They are a great source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fibre.
HOW TO COOK FIDDLEHEADS
The most common way to prepare fiddleheads is boil and then sauté them. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like boiled veggies. For some reason, my mom always boiled vegetables. I don’t know if it was her generation or what, but that was the norm in my house. Although I loved my mom’s cooking (and still miss it to this day), my kitchen sees very little boiled veggies. Yes, I boil potatoes before I turn them into creamy delightful mashed potatoes (a holiday must for gravy), but other than that, steamed, grilled or roasted is the way to go for me.
ROASTING FIDDLEHEAD FERNS
- Start by washing the fiddleheads (several times) and then patting dry (I use a kitchen towel). Trim any dry stalk and remove any brown on the fern itself. If you use these as soon as possible, you will avoid having to remove very much from them. The longer they sit, the browner they get.
- Place washed fiddleheads into a roasting dish. Coat with olive oil. I used butter flavoured olive oil in this recipe for some added flavour. Season with salt and pepper. For a nice change of pace try some smoked sea salt here.
- Put the dish into the oven, and roast. Since you want to make sure you kill any bacteria, roast for 25-30 minutes.
- Once cooked, garnish with feta cheese (this is optional but REALLY good) and enjoy!
I love when the vegetable speaks for itself, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time and fuss to produce a wonderful tasting dish. If you have the chance to get your hands on some of these beautiful seasonal delights, give Roasted Fiddlehead Ferns a try. If you are like me, you will have a hard time waiting for next season.
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Roasted Fiddlehead Ferns
- 1 pound fresh fiddlehead ferns
- 3 tbsp olive oil (I used butter flavoured)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- 3 ounces feta cheese (crumbled)
- Preheat oven to 425º F.
- Wash the fiddleheads (several times) and pat dry. I used a kitchen towel.
- Remove any loose brown leaves, and trim any dry ends.
- Place cleaned fiddleheads into a roasting dish.
- Coat with the olive oil.
- Season with salt & pepper. I use smoked sea salt.
- Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring about 1/2 way through.
- Remove from oven and place on a serving tray.
- Garnish with the crumbled feta cheese.