This is a tried and true, super easy fiddlehead salad that will be LOVED by many. Nothing like most recipes that’s available online, this recipe is crisp, flavorful, nutty yet refreshing. It truly celebrates the flavor and texture of fiddlehead and spring!
What is fiddlehead?
Fiddlehead is the young shoot of ferns- more specifically in this recipe- ostrich ferns! Native Americans were the first to eat them, and their popularity continues to this day. Some ferns can be toxic, and not all of them taste good.
Here are two ways to identify ostrich fern in spring:
- There is a deep, ”U”-shaped groove on the inside of the smooth stem.
- There are thin, brown, paper-like scales covering the newly emerging fiddleheads- kind of like the chaff on freshly roasted coffee beans. The scales fall off as the fiddlehead grows and elongates.
What does it taste like?
It’s really crispy, tender, and refreshing. Some say it tastes like asparagus, some say it tastes like sound broccoli.
Taiwanese-style of fern cooking
We eat a few different types of fern in Taiwan. We occasionally saute “ShanSu” with fermented black beans(豆豉炒山蘇), or make “GuoMao” into a easy salad (涼拌過貓). This fiddlehead salad recipe is inspired by the latter. The trick to making the perfect salad is to make sure that you don’t overcook the fiddlehead. I find most recipes I could find online does exactly that- overcooking it.
Blanch the fiddlehead shortly and shock them in ice cold water is probably the most important part of this recipe. (oh and clean off the chaff before cooking them)
We sold a few recipe kits of this fiddlehead salad at the Rochester Farmers Market, and the feedback was PHENOMENAL, so I’m sharing this for you to try it yourself!
- A Pot
- 1/2 lb Fiddlehead
- 3 TBsp Toasted White Sesame
- 2 TBsp Soy Sauce
- 2 TBsp Vinegar
- 2 TBsp Sugar
Make the sauce
- Blend everything but the fiddlehead together until smooth, set aside.
Prep the fiddlehead
- Clean fiddlehead throughly, remove all the brown skins.
- Prepare a bowl of ice cold water, bring another pot of water to a rapid boil.
- Once the pot of water is boiling rapidly, add the fiddleheads to the pot and boil for 15 SECONDS.
- Remove the fiddleheads and dump them into ice cold water immediately.
- Drain the fiiddleheads and pat dry with a paper towel, toss the sauce and fiddleheads together.