Sally, a MarxFoods.com customer from Maryland, was kind enough to share this great recipe for wild fiddleheads.
Sally’s Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns
Recipe by Sally Alexander
For 2 lbs of Fiddlehead Ferns – Serves 6
Render 1/2 lb of pancetta, cubed, in a 300 degree oven – for about half an hour or more, checking occasionally to turn a piece over and to make sure the meat doesn’t blacken.
Remove the pancetta from the oven. Allow to cool a few minutes, then place the cubes in a food processor, and tip the pan or cookie sheet into a large frying pan to pour off the fat into the frying pan. Add several tablespoons of a good virgin olive oil to the fat, then a tablespoon of chopped garlic or more to taste (I use two). Pulse the pancetta until it looks like coarse grain. I did all this quite early in the day, to allow the garlic to infuse the oil.
Clip off the ends of the fiddleheads’ stems and gently wash the ferns in a colander. Allow to air dry.
Heat the reserved oil / pancetta fat in the pan – about medium heat. Add the fiddleheads and saute, turning from time to time with a spatula, until the fern stems are firm but tender. This is a matter of taste – some might like fiddlehead ferns cooked longer – but it’s a shame to overcook them. Add a half cup of white wine and two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice; leave in the pan just a second, for the liquid to heat, and remove to a serving dish and sprinkle the pancetta over the ferns. I salt very little for health reasons, but that again is a matter of taste. Lagniappe, as Paul Prudhomme would say: it’s nice to serve the ferns hot, but room temperature doesn’t injure the flavor, in my opinion.