Pan Saute of Fiddleheads, Garlic and Bacon

  • 1/2-pound fiddlehead ferns
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Butter (optional)
  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup pancetta or bacon, cut into ¼ inch cubes
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper

Trim the dark ends from the stems and wash the fiddleheads in a coarse strainer

using a strong stream of water. Place them in a large bowl of water and swirl

them around, rubbing off the thin flakes of chaff on the ferns. Drain and dry in a

kitchen towel, rubbing off any remaining chaff.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium – high heat. Add the bacon or pancetta, if

using, and cook, stirring until lightly browned. Add ferns and garlic and cook,

covered, for 3 – 4 minutes. Uncover and cook for an additional 3 – 4 minutes or

until they are tender but still are slightly crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste

and swirl in some butter if you wish. Serve immediately. If you make extra, they

make an interesting addition to a mixed salad or soups and stews. Because they

are fully cooked, add them at the last minute to hot dishes. Any way you serve

them, you will be enjoying a true New England treasure.

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