Fiddleheads are a true sign of spring and aren’t around for long, which makes them that much more of a treat. I always look forward to spotting them at the green grocer for the first time, and they typically arrive just in time for Mother’s Day.
My mother came up with this recipe one spring many years ago. It was first published in my book Culinary Art. and quickly became a tradition in our family for Mother’s Day. We all gather at my mother’s place and have this as a first course, followed by boil lobster with lots of garlic butter.
Fiddlehead ferns with vinaigrette, a simple yet sophisticated first course for 4
- 1 lb of fiddlehead ferns
- 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp sugar
- 1 shallot, sliced fine
- 2 tbsp dried tarragon
Wash and trim the ends off of the ferns. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, put the fiddleheads in, and boil for a good five minutes. Make sure you cook them the full five minutes, as they can upset the stomach if not fully cooked. That being said, you don’t want them to be soft either. Drain well and spread them on a kitchen towel. Wrap them up in the towel and press on them a bit to drain out as much water as possible. In doing so you avoid diluting the vinaigrette.
Combine all the other ingredients in a salad bowl. Add the drained fiddleheads and toss. Let them marinate at room temperature for two to three hours, tossing every half hour or so before serving.