I love Fiddleheads. Love them dearly. I have fond memories as a kid going out to the bush around the Orangeville Ontario area with my Dad (aka Mr. Happypants) and the brat (aka my little bro) harvesting these spring time gems. We would go explore some of the Mono Cliff caves around Hockley Road ( a few minutes away from Orangeville) and then we would go harvest fiddleheads.
I did not harvest these lovely little gems but found them just being unloaded at my local No Frills grocery store. I could not resist. I really do prefer fresh fiddleheads for grilling. The frozen ones available year round are great for making a fiddlehead and leek soup in the winter but the texture is not great for a grill.
For those of you not familiar with fiddleheads here is the WIKI info for them:
Fiddlehead ferns refers to the unfurled fronds of a young fern harvested for food consumption. The fiddlehead, or circinate vernation, unrolls as the fern emerges from the ground with new growth. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.
The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a fiddle. It is also called a crozier, after the curved staff used by bishops, which has its origins in the shepherd’s crook.
When cooking fiddleheads, first remove all the yellow/brown skin, then boil the sprouts twice with a change of water between boilings. Removing the water reduces the bitterness and the content of tannins and toxins.
I like to soak my fiddleheads overnight in water first. Then trim any of the dark brown bits off the cut ends and remove any of the papery brown outer layer that can be sometimes attached to them. Before grilling I steam them quickly a couple of times. This is an important step as you need to remove some of the bitterness and potential toxins.
For the preparation I simply tossed them in some lemon olive oil, then sprinkled them generously with salt & pepper. Using a frogmat works great with these. Just grill at medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until tender turning a couple of times. I really like the lemon with fiddleheads. I added some lemon zest just before dinner as well.