This simple sauté highlights the fresh flavor of fiddlehead ferns with a savory richness of browned garlic. Note that grapeseed or vegetable, not olive, oil is called for—you want a neutral, clean flavor that won't compete with the delicate fiddleheads. Similarly, if you choose to use the garlic or shallot, slice them rather than finely chop or mince them—the bigger pieces will keep their flavor from overwhelming the pretty ferns.
- 1 Tbsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound fiddlehead ferns
- 2 tsp. grapeseed or vegetable oil
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or 1 small shallot, sliced (optional)
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (completely optional)
1 Trim and rinse fiddleheads, removing any brown ends or mushy parts.
2 In a large pot bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add salt and fiddleheads. Cook 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3 In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fiddleheads. Cook, stirring, until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, if you like, and cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and just starting to color, about 1 minute. Salt to taste. Serve immediately.