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Fiddlehead Ferns with Pine Nuts, Pecorino, and Lemon Zest

Staff Writer
Fiddlehead Ferns with Pine Nuts, Pecorino, and Lemon Zest
Will Budiaman

Fiddlehead Ferns with Pine Nuts, Pecorino, and Lemon Zest

Fiddlehead ferns have a slightly nutty flavor when cooked, and so I thought fiddleheads, toasted pine nuts, and salty, slightly funky pecorino would be a good combination. Lemon zest brightens things up a bit, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil at the end seals in all the flavors.

Click here to see Make Dinner More Interesting — 8 Great Side Dish Recipes.

Deliver Ingredients


  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 Pound fiddlehead ferns, brown chaff removed
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 Cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • Pinch of red chile pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Pecorino romano, to taste


Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the fiddlehead ferns, boil for 10 minutes, and drain.

Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over low heat. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook until the pine nuts are golden. Add the red chile pepper flakes and fiddlehead ferns, and heat through briefly.

Transfer to a bowl, toss with the lemon zest, and shave strips of pecorino over the top using a vegetable peeler. Drizzle with more olive oil, to taste.

Fiddlehead Fern Shopping Tip

Look for vegetables that are firm and bright in color – avoid those that are wilted or have wrinkled skins, which are signs of age.

Fiddlehead Fern Cooking Tip

Different vegetables have different cooking times – cook each type separately and then combine.