Spring Time: Fiddlehead Ferns


Watching springtime roll into the Delaware Valley is truly a sight for tired winter eyes. Pale greens, pinks, purples, and florescent yellow litter the rolling hills of Bucks County. One of my favorite evolutions in the landscape is the budding heads of the whimsical ostrich fern, better known as fiddlehead ferns. These curled little nuggets of peppery sweet goodness are immense in my parents neck of the woods. For the past two weeks I have been religiously checking the usual locations of these magnificent spring treats, coming up with nothing but more and more anticipation.


This past week brought in a spastic weather change and a soon following downpour. I knew fiddles were on their way. Today I wandered into the woods and lo and behold my beauties were awaiting me! I scrambled, filled my pockets and ran home. I diced up some shallots, garlic and butter, add a touch of white wine, and I tasted spring for the first time this year.


If you live in the Philadelphia area, you can probably find some ostrich ferns in your local woods. Look for clusters of reddish brown peels with bright green spirals of green. I often find them in loose and wet soil, in shady areas. If you're a newb to foraging, please please please, don't go pulling random ferns out of the ground if your not sure what an ostrich looks like. Do some research and you should be able to spot the little guys. If you are not the foraging type, you can sometimes find fiddleheads at speciality stores. Expect to pay a premium, but it is oh so totally worth it.

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Sautéed Wild Fiddlehead Ferns

3 tablespoon butter

2 shallots, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups well washed fiddleheads

Splash dry white wine

Salt & Pepper to taste

In a pan melt down butter, add shallot, cook till translucent, add garlic. Add fiddleheads and wine, and cook for 3 minutes. Enjoy your taste of the season! 

Easter Dinner: Black Bass with Fiddlehead Ferns and Meyer Lemon Yogurt Dill Sauce

I was in charge of planning Easter Dinner this year at the Briggs' house. I picked up this Black Sea Bass in Philadelphia and took it home with me to Bucks County. My sister and I foraged the woods surrounding our house for the fiddleheads.

For you city slickers scratching your head about what a 'fiddlehead fern' is, it is a a young fern that has not 'unwound' itself into a frond, an adult fern. These tasty veggies are abundant (and free!) in our area and filled with omega 3 & 6 as well as iron and fiber.

This dish, which was was inspired by local ingredients, was a big hit and relatively easy. Underneath the fish is Traugers (a family farm in my area) sweet potatoes with golden raisins and roasted parsley root and fennel. I decided the bass would pair nicely with a yogurt Meyer lemon dill sauce. 

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