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The food world is all a buzz about fiddleheads this spring. Up until a year ago, I’d never heard of such a thing. Turns out, fiddleheads are actually unfurled ostrich fern fronds (say that 3 times fast!).

Unfortunately, fiddleheads are not harvested here on the Gulf Coast. The best I could do was buying some from Fresh Market which made their way to me from Portland, Oregon. Eek!

On to what you’re here for, the recipe! I made this dish partly because of my desire to try fiddleheads, but I also needed to use up some leftover veggies (i.e. clean out the fridge).

Pasta & Fiddlehead Sauté


  • Egg noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pat of butter
  • Fiddleheads
  • Baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • Leeks, chopped
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper (to taste)

First, put on a pot of water for the pasta. Then, begin by thoroughly cleaning your fiddleheads (it will take several good rinses). Next, boil the fiddleheads in a pot of salted water for 3 minutes. While the fiddleheads are boiling, melt butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic and leeks, sautéing just until slightly tender. Add mushrooms and fresh thyme. Drain the fiddleheads and add to skillet. Once the mushrooms begin to soften and brown, add salt and pepper to taste. Add drained pasta to skillet. You may need to add a splash or two of pasta water to loosen things up a bit. Top with cheese and a little more fresh thyme. Serve immediately.

There was a lot of variation in the flavor of these fiddleheads. Some were sharp like arugula with an extra burst of wildness. Others were bland, adding more texture to this dish than taste. Perhaps the poor little dears suffered motion sickness during their cross-country trek.

I came across a fabulous site while on my fern fact-finding mission, Wild Harvest. This is the go-to resource for info on wild things…and where the wild things are. Sorry, I just had to go there. For more fun with fiddleheads (don’t you just love that word?), check this out.

Now, I’m longing to plan a “gathering” vacation for next spring where I could forage for fiddleheads, ramps, and morels to my heart’s contents. Of course, I’ll need a new basket and a scarlet cape to properly traipse through the woods. It would be very Little Red Riding Hood-esque. 😉

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity." ~Voltaire

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