Recipe for fiddlehead ferns with bacon and onion

fiddle head ferns Fiddlehead ferns are wild, edible plants that grow during the springtime. They taste similar to asparagus and can be found near rivers…or in your local farmers’ market. @1800’s Chef Wayne shares his favorite recipe for fiddleheads. 

Back in 1973-1974, I found myself immersed in living off the land and harvesting wild edibles from the surrounding Scandinavia countryside. Out of the many things I found for use in cooking, my favorite is fiddlehead ferns. And out of all the ferns in our Wisconsin landscape, by far the most tender and flavorful was the Ostrich Fern. It has large fiddleheads and grows in relatively big colonies which makes for easy harvesting.


2 pounds Fiddlehead Ferns (trimmed of tough or blemished ends)

1 Tbl. Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Heat a large pot of water to a boil and add in the ferns. Blanch them for a minute or two, then drain and place them in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

In a bowl, toss the ferns with olive oil and salt and pepper. Then spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and broil about 4 inches from the heat coil. Shake the pan about halfway through the cooking to turn the fiddle heads. Cook for about six minutes, then remove them from the broiler and arrange on a serving platter.


6 Slices of Bacon, cut in ¼ inch strips

¼ Red Onion, minced

¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbl. Fresh Parsley, minced

¼ Cup Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Fry bacon in a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat until brown and crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.

Whisk onion, vinegar, parsley and oil together and season it with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the fiddlehead ferns and sprinkle the cooked bacon on top.

{Please note: Fiddleheads should not be eaten raw.}

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