Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns with Parmesan Cheese
These are charming little scrolls, aren't they? I had never seen a fiddlehead fern until I moved to New York. Largely uncultivated, and with a fleeting growing season, you'd be lucky to find them even here, although they do grow wild throughout New England. So if you see them, grab them. It might be your only chance.
I've seen recipes for fiddleheads that ask you to boil them twice, switching the water between rounds. I don't think such delicate harbingers of spring deserve such harsh treatment, and anyway, I hate the idea of boiling all of the life out of them. Once a year, when I find them, I simply saute them, as I have done here. If you're only going to find them occasionally, you may as well let them sing for themselves.
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
4 scallions, white and light green part sliced
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste
Olive oil for the pan
To prep your fiddleheads, cut the touch stems off, including any brown parts. Run them under cold water in a colander, then place them in a bowl of water and swirl around. Dry them on paper towels.
Heat the olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and the fiddleheads, cover, and cook for 4 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue to cook for another 4 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Squirt the juice of half a lemon on top. Spoon onto plates and serve with a grating of parmesan cheese over the top.
UPDATE: Thanks to two commenters for pointing out that the double boiling often recommended for fiddleheads is used to reduce the risk of a certain bacteria that is associated with them. So be careful with your produce, and see the comments for more information.