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Sautéed Fiddlehead Ferns with Garlic and Lemon


I have a food confession to make: I have been so busy that I haven’t been to the Greenmarket at all this season. Blame it on work, blame it on the incessant rain, blame it on the suffocating heat and humidity, but the real blame goes to me.

I have been a very lazy eater of late.

But spring vegetables are an excellent reason to get off of my duff. Since I missed ramp season (argh!), I wasn’t going to let the fiddlehead fern pass me by.

Fiddlehead ferns are the unfurled leaves of a young fern. They are harvested around this time, before they unroll and spread out as a new frond.

You blink and you miss the season.

So this is time-sensitive post, people!

I love them simply cooked: blanched, sautéed in olive oil and butter with garlic, and spritzed with lemon before serving.

Be sure to clean the ferns well before blanching. Swish them around in a big bowl of water, trimming the ends a little if they need it. After boiling them briefly in salted water, plunge them into an ice cold bath to stop the cooking and preserve their wonderful color. As the fiddleheads drain, heat a little bit of olive oil with a small knob of butter in a sauté pan with some finely minced garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the ferns. Shower them with sea salt, and sauté them until they start to brown slightly. A quick squeeze of lemon over the top before serving. They are fabulous.

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