Fiddlehead fern recipes

We stock fiddlehead ferns for several weeks each spring. These are true ostrich ferns picked from the New England area, specifically Maine. Very early in the spring you may come across fresh fiddlehead ferns; they are most likely west coast bracken ferns, which tend to be more fibrous and bitter. True ostrich ferns resemble small, still-curled ferns and have a taste cross between asparagus and dandelion. Trim off the bottom, which may have browned since harvest, and prepare by steaming or sautéing.

Look for our spring greens and mushrooms (fresh and dried) in Minnesota and the Midwest at Whole Foods Markets and Kowalski's Markets.

You can also buy dried mushrooms through our online shop. We offer dozens of varieties of wild and cultivated mushrooms, mushroom blends, and powders. Shipping is free on $75 orders. Visit our online shop here.

Cream of Fiddlehead Soup
Serves 6
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
  • 1 1/2 cups fiddleheads (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
  • 2 qt. chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks or egg substitute

Melt butter and sauté shallots. Add carrots, leeks and fiddleheads and sauté. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and boil. Cook for 30 minutes. Mix cream and egg yolks in blender and pour slowly into soup. Heat slowly, and do not boil. Garnish with steamed fiddleheads.

Fiddlehead Fern Souffle
Serves 6
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
  • 6 egg yolks or egg substitute
  • 1 cup chopped cooked fiddleheads
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 6 egg whites (bring to room temp)
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

Melt butter on low and stir in flour until well blended. Remove from heat and add milk slowly, whisking constantly. Add seasonings and return to heat to a simmer, stirring until thickened.
Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sauce, then slowly add to remaining sauce, whisking to temper the eggs. Stir in fiddleheads and cheese.
Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until stiff. Slowly fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Heat a 2 quart souffle pan at 350º until hot. Do not brown butter. Add the fiddlehead mixture and cook for 45-50 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

Steamed Garlic Fiddleheads
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 cups fiddlehead ferns
  • juice of one lemon

Steam fiddleheads for 10-15 minutes. Heat butter and sauté garlic slowly, adding fiddleheads. Squeeze lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes. Season to taste.

Fiddlehead Fern Quiche
Serves 6-8
For crust, use any non-sweet pie crust or a homemade crust
For the filling:
  • 6 slices bacon, crisped
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. minced scallion or onion
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 pint fiddlehead ferns

Cook crust according to directions. Combine eggs, milk and cream in a bowl. Add scallion and seasonings. Sprinkle half the cheese in the bottom of the shell, lay bacon and pour egg mixture over. Sprinkle rest of Swiss cheese, arrange fiddlehead ferns on top and grate nutmeg over top. Bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes until set. Cool slightly and serve. 

Marinated Fiddlehead Ferns
Serves 4
  • 4 cups fiddlehead, cooked until slightly tender
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 1/3 cup salad oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. each chopped fresh parsley and chives (or 1 Tbsp. each if dried)
  • Pinch of tarragon

Combine all ingredients and pour over hot, drained fiddleheads. Marinate in a refrigerator for a few hours. Drain before serving.

Fiddlehead Fern and Lettuce Salad
Serves 6
  • 1 lb fiddleheads
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. wine vinegar
  • 1 head each Boston lettuce and Romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Simmer fiddleheads until just tender. Place in cold water to stop cooking and set color, then pat dry with paper towels. Combine chopped garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until smooth. Add fiddleheads, lettuce and watercress and toss. Top with chopped eggs.

Wild Fiddlehead Ferns and Morels
Serves 6
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups fresh morel mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cups fiddlehead ferns
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • Lemon juice to taste

In a bowl, combine 4 cups cold water, salt and morels. Swish bowl gently to rinse out any sand from morels; drain, dry and set aside. Cook fiddleheads in 4 Tbsp. butter over low heat for 8-10 minutes; set aside. Sauté morels in remaining butter over medium-high heat until tender. Add fiddleheads, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss together and serve.