• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time:
  • Serves: 4 Servings

Fern Tips Vinaigrette

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Salads, Side Dishes

 Ingredients List

  • 2 tb Vinegar or lemon juice
  • 6 tb Melted butter or salad oil
  • 1/2 ts Prepared mustard
  • 1/2 ts Each paprika and salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ts Chopped chives or
  • 1 ts Grated onion
  • 2 Hard-boiled eggs; chopped
  • 2 c Fiddlehead ferns
  • -- cooked and chilled


Combine all ingredients except the last two; mix well. Arrange hard-boiled
eggs over top of the chilled, cooked fiddleheads and pour vinaigrette sauce
over all.

The author wrote: "Fiddleheads, the coiled tips of young fern fronds, are
a springtime delicacy especially prized by New Englanders and wild foods
enthusiasts. Their season lasts only two weeks or so in May. Three kinds
of the curled crosiers are gathered: those of the ostrich fern, the
cinnamon fern, and the common bracken fern.

"The fiddlehead is ready to pick when it is pushing up swiftly through the
ground with its tightly coiled tip, shaped like the head of a fiddle.
Fiddleheads are picked in the morning when they are woodsy-smelling and
fresh flavored and snap off crisply into the hand of the picker. By
afternoon the glowing green-coiled crosiers can have outgrown the edible
stage, becoming unfurled fern fronds.

"The cinnamon fern (Osmunda cinnamomea) fiddlehead is gathered when it is
about eight inches tall. The crosiers and one-half inch to two inches of
the stem are eaten. A grayish-yellow woolly covering on the stems and tips
must be removed (sometimes with difficulty) before the fiddleheads are
cooked. They are washed and then rubbed to remove the fuzz. Fiddleheads
will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator after picking, but wild
flavors and freshness are transitory. Better to pick fiddleheads in the
morning and eat them before night - or freeze them."

"The ostrich fern (Pteris nodulosa)...is the tall, graceful plant that
grows on stream and river banks where the water comes up in the early
spring. So abundant are the ostrich ferns in the lush natural ferneries of
the Winooski valley near Waterbury, Vermont, that quantities of the
fiddleheads are harvested, packed in snow, and transported to Maine where
they are canned for sale in specialty food stores.

"Fresh, crisp fiddleheads are steamed or boiled in salted water for 20 to
30 minutes, until just tender. Their flavor hints of asparagus and
mushrooms combined, and they are delectable served with either of these
compatibly flavored foods. But the best dish of plump fiddleheads is
simmered gently and served hot, enhanced only by the simplest adornment of
melted butters, served within hours after the crosiers are gathered..."

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