makes four side dishes
1 pound fiddlehead ferns
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves finely chopped garlic (optional)
¼ cup bacon, cut into ¼ inch cubes (optional)
Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper
Trim the dark ends from the stems and wash the fiddleheads in a coarse strainer using a strong stream of water. Place them in a large bowl of water and swirl them around, rubbing off the thin flakes of chaff on the ferns. Drain and dry in a kitchen towel, rubbing off any remaining chaff.
Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium – high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Add ferns and garlic and cook, covered, for 3 – 4 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes or until they are tender but still are slightly crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste and swirl in some butter if you wish. Serve immediately. If you make extra, they make an interesting addition to a mixed salad or soups and stews. Because they are fully cooked, add them at the last minute to hot dishes.
bacon recipe courtesy of: Charlie Burke, Weather Hill Farm, Sanbornton, New Hampshire | Food Writer for The Heart of New England