Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

This simple sautée is an easy way to bring out the fresh flavor of fiddlehead ferns. The savory richness of golden garlic, should you choose to use it, highlights their naturally grassy flavor.  Courtesy of theSpruceEats; published on 01/06/20.


Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time:  10 mins
Total Time:  20 mins

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

  • 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
  • 1 clove garlic or 1 small shallot
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons butter or vegetable oil


01: Gather the ingredients.

02: Trim the Fiddlehead Ferns, removing any brown ends or mushy parts.  Rinse them clean in cool water.  Only do this right before cooking them --the added moisture will make these delicate fronds spoil if done too far ahead of time.

03: If using garlic or shallot, peel it and slice it very thinly.  Don't chop or mince them; slicing and ending up with bigger pieces will keep their pungent aroma from overwhelming the delicate flavor of these pretty ferns.

04: In a large pot, bring 2 quarts to a boil.  Add the salt and the cleaned fiddleheads.  Cook for 1 minute.

05: Drain and rinse with cold water until the fiddleheads cool off (or dunk them in a bowl of ice water to cool them).

06: Drain them and lay them out on layers of paper towels to pat them dry.  This process of blanching removes the bitter edge of fiddleheads.  If their bitterness doesn't bother you, feel free to skip this step.

07: In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the blanched fiddleheads.  Cook. stirring frequently, until they start to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes (longer if they aren't blanched).

08: Add the garlic or shallots, if you like, and cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and just starting to color, about 1 minute.

09: Salt to taste and serve immediately.


Buy and grow your own Fiddlehead Fern plants!