This my be blasphemy, but I can't stand the little suckers. Everytime I have had them they are slimy (like okra or napoles) and never thought the flavor to be that good. Now give me some ramps and Im a happy guy.
My favorite way to eat them is to make a quick refrigerator pickle with garlic and white balsamic vinegar. Easy!
Clean well and place fiddleheads in a glass bowl or jar with a few cloves of peeled garlic and a few sprigs of fresh tarragon. Stir together a volume of white balsamic vinegar equal to the volume of fiddleheads, about 1/4 as much water, a teaspoon or two kosher salt, about the same of sugar. Heat until just about boiling. Pour over fiddleheads, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. They can be eaten the next day, but improve after a more 2-3 days. They are crunchy, and full of flavor in a wild, bright way.
Great with fresh trout (especially when cooked on a stick over a campfire).
Sorry my recipe is so non-specific as far as measurements (I usually hate that!) but I always just throw together refrigerator pickles-it's more a process than a recipe.
Well, I love fiddlehead ferns with an abiding passion. Simply steamed, tossed with balsamic vinegar, pepper and a little goat cheese... or else roasted like asparagus in a touch of olive oil. Who needs asparagus when you've got fiddleheads, I say -- plus the cool shape is a bonus.
That "sauteed in flour" idea sounds pretty good, too.
I thought of something else, on the "play up shape" theme... what about polenta, or maybe little savoury pancakes, with fiddleheads embedded in it/them, served with some sort of spring-like stew or vegetable mixture on top?
16 fiddlehead ferns
3 tbsp hazelnut or walnut oil
3 tbsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
Grenoblase lettuce leaves
1 cup buna-shemiji mushrooms
2 tbsp snipped chives
Wash fiddlehead ferns thoroughly under running water. Steam until tender and set aside to cool.
In a screw-top jar combine hazelnut or walnut oil, raspberry vinegar and sugar.
Cover and shake well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Line 4 salad plates with Grenoblase leaves. Arrange fiddlehead ferns and buna-shemiji atop lettuce. Sprinkle with chives.
Shake dressing well; pour over each serving.