In Season: Fiddlehead Ferns
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Fiddlehead ferns, if you've never had them before, probably look pretty mysterious. They pop up at farmers' markets in the spring, bright green shoots with curled up tendrils. Their flavor is often compared to asparagus, with a hint of nuttiness and chewy texture. Fiddlehead ferns are easily prepared; most of the time, they are blanched and then simply sautéed.
It is important to cook fiddlehead ferns thoroughly, though. They cannot be consumed raw, and should be blanched for at least 10 minutes before sautéing, or steamed for the same amount of time.
Fiddlehead ferns come in two varieties — the most commonly found variety shows up fresh in East Coast farmers' markets and is called the ostrich fiddlehead. The other variety, the bracken fiddlehead, can be found on the West Coast, and typically shows up in boiled or dried form at Asian markets.
The season for fiddleheads runs from April to July, depending on the region. So if you're an adventurous cook and have never tried fiddleheads before, now's the time to bring some home and give them a try.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.