- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds fiddle head ferns, tripped and washed
- 24 paper-thin slices prosciutto
- 6 tablespoons brown butter
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. In a large pot bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Fill a medium bowl halfway with ice water. Drop the fiddleheads into the pot and cook for 1 minute. Drain the fiddleheads in a colander, then submerge in the ice water until completely cool. Let the fiddleheads drain well in a colander and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to dry.2. Arrange 2 slices of prosciutto on each of 6 room temperature plates.3. Put the brown butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads and toss gently, adding 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Heat for a minute or two until they are warm, then divide the fiddleheads among the 6 plates. Serve at once.
One of the special treats of a New England spring are fiddlehead ferns, which grow wild along mossy stream banks. They are simply the immature leaf fronds of ostrich fern plants that have not yet opened. Fern leaves are poisonous once they open and can only be enjoyed in this early stage, when they taste like a cross between artichokes and asparagus. After a fiddlehead is removed from the stalk, the cut end starts to turn brown. Be sure to trim back the stem (about 1/4 inch) to the healthy green section before cooking.