Fiddleheads are the still-curled young shoots of certain ferns. They are harvested for a brief time in early spring, so, like shad roe they are known in New England as a sign that spring has arrived. Fiddleheads are especially associated with the cuisine of Maine.
We celebrated a bounty of excellent new fiddleheads in April 2013 with our Fiddleheads Feast.
To prepare fiddleheads, just snip off the tips of the stems, rinse in cold water, and steam them for a few minutes. Stop the cooking by plunging them into ice-water. They should be al dente, still with some snap to them.
Serve hot or cold, as a side dish or in a salad.