I stumbled across these unique looking plants while on a business trip to Spokane (of all places). I placed my order at Mizuna Restaurant in downtown Spokane for a mixed vegetable vegan entree. When I saw these furled fron shaped greens, I was taken aback. What was on my dinner plate?
After a few crunchy bites, I began to really dig these little guys. I asked the waitress what they were called and she said, “Fiddlehead Ferns”. Fiddlehead Ferns have a taste similar to asparagus and a crisp bite that keeps you wanting more. I sat and pondered about where I might be able to find these in Chicago and to my surprise, a good friend brought me back a bundle from a recent trip to Cape Cod, where Fiddlehead Ferns are native. They can actually be found throughout New England and Eastern Canada. They are in season in May and can be purchased locally at select specialty produce stores and at Whole Foods. If you cannot find them, a trip to New England may be in order!
Fiddlehead Ferns are rich in potassium, dietary fiber, omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and high in antioxidants.
To prepare Fiddlehead Ferns you need to rinse off the fuzzy beard on the fron. They may contain certain micros that are not ideal for eating raw, so be sure to cook them thoroughly. Season with your favorite spices and saute in a pan with olive oil and garlic on medium heat for about 6 minutes. They should be firm, crisp and crunchy. Enjoy with quinoa, rice, potatoes, other vegetables or on their own as a side. It’s as simple as that!
Have you ever tried Fiddlehead Ferns, furled frons? They are a culinary delight!
Here is a list of restaurants in Chicago that currently have Fiddlhead Ferns on the menu!