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Fiddlehead Ferns

You may have to forage for this woodland delicacy

Fine Cooking Issue 44
Photo: Scott Phillips
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Fiddleheads take their name from the scroll on a violin; they’re the head of the ostrich fern in its early stages of life. They have a nutty flavor that may remind you of asparagus. Look for brightly colored, tightly furled ones with brown wisps still clinging, and be sure they’re not slimy. Fiddleheads make a brief appearance in the spring, so if you see them, pounce, and cook them soon after you get them home. Snip off the tail ends, blanch them briefly, and then rub them to remove the fuzzy brown wisps. Toss tender, young fiddleheads into a green salad with a lemon vinaigrette. Sauté more mature ones with a bit of olive oil and garlic.


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