Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns (Vegan)

Feed me Seymour

Wild fiddlehead ferns

Remember those fiddlehead ferns I mentioned with my Chik’n Marsala recipe? These are they. Let me tell you a little something about fiddlehead ferns. They’re  magnificent and delicious, and, also, they totally look like aliens. Apparently they’re only available for about three weeks of the year, and mostly in New England, so if you’ve never seen or heard of them, it’s not surprising. I’d never seen or heard of them myself until I saw them through the window of the doorway at Whole Foods one day, and thought “That plant in the window, it’s simply amazing! Oh, while I’m here, I might as well take a hundred dollars worth of roses.”/nerdy Little Shop of Horrors reference

But seriously folks. There are some things people should know about fiddleheads before cooking them, and apparently some of them can cause GI illness if not prepared correctly, though generally speaking they’re safe and delicious. You just need to cook them thoroughly. And not eat them raw.

As far as what they taste like, they’re not very far from asparagus or broccolini, with a super green freshness, slight nuttiness and hint of bitter aftertaste.

By the way, this recipe is not my invention. I found it at Earthly Delights. But I scoured pages and pages of recipes to find ideas for the perfect simple treatment, and it wasn’t easy to find, so I wanted to make it easy for you.

Sauteed Fiddlehead Ferns

  • 1 lb fresh fiddlehead ferns, tightly closed
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 1 tsp freshly ground sea salt
  • Ice water
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter or margarine (or you could use regular butter for a vegetarian version)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Clean and trim the fiddleheads, snipping off the tough stems or any brown unsightly parts. Rinse in cold water – you may need to go through a few rounds of cold water until it’s clear. Meanwhile, boil two quarts of salted water and have a bowl of ice water on hand.

When the water is boiling, add the fiddleheads. Return to a boil and cook for only about two or three minutes, timing it carefully. Strain the boiling water and dunk the ferns immediately in ice water. Drain the fiddleheads and pat them dry.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. As it begins to bubble, add the blanched fiddleheads. Sauté for about two minutes, then add the lemon juice and stir thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Chanterelles & Fresh Corn (Vegan or Vegetarian)


Not my own pic, but close enough

Totally ganked this recipe from the LA Times. But no specific chef or author was credited, so my props can’t go further than that. The addition of the gruyère was my own innovation, albeit a modest one. Also, if you use the gruyère, obviously it’s not vegan anymore, and furthermore it wouldn’t technically be vegetarian either, because gruyère usually contains rennet. But, since gruyère is so delicious, it’s one of those occasional rule benders we’re known to eat. Whatever—this dish is rich and luscious with or without the gruyère. Also, it’s super fast & simple to make.

  • ~4 – 8 oz chanterelles
  • ~4 cobs fresh sweet corn
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil (if you don’t have walnut oil, olive oil will suffice)
  • ~ 1 tsp sea salt
  • Bit o’ water or homemade veggie stock (extra credit for mushroom stock, if the latter, however, be mindful that whatever stock you use isn’t too strong, as this dish has subtle flavors that could be overpowered by too bold of a stock)
  • ~1/3 cup shredded gruyère, if desired

Dust the chanterelles clean with a mushroom brush and slice them in whatever way makes most sense to you, but not too big, small or thin.

Cut the corn from the cobs – it’s not difficult but it does take some getting used to. Here’s what I do: Remove the husks & cornsilk. Take the cob, stand it on its flat end in a dish deep enough to prevent the corn kernels from flying all over the place. Take a sharp knife and slice in four sweeps, 3 or 4 or so rows of kernels at a time, creating a cube around the cob. Does that make sense? If not, please view this tutorial for a visual representation.

Heat the oil. Throw the mushrooms, corn & salt into the pan, stir and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the veggie stock (or water) and cover, stirring occasionally. Let cook around 8 minutes, until corn is tender. Uncover the pan and continue to cook until liquid is mostly evaporated. Salt & pepper to taste, and serve with shredded gruyere (if desired).