Fiddleheads, have you had them? They are a treasure if you can find them and a delight to eat! I received some fiddleheads from a friend’s mom in Maine – an entire bag of them that she has picked herself, and I wanted to create a simple recipe that would make them shine, thus this easy recipe for Creamy Lemon Fiddlehead Pasta was born!
Fiddlehead Ferns are best picked from late April to early June just as the snow begins to melt. They can be harvested from the time they emerge until the stem is about 15 cm tall, and should only be picked while still tightly coiled. With quite literally just a few days, maybe a week of fiddlehead fern season, I needed to share this recipe as soon as possible!
“Fiddlehead harvesting is a Maine tradition that has its roots in Native American times. Many Mainers can recall the time-honored family tradition of fiddleheadin’ with their parents and grandparents, and it has become a cherished springtime ritual. The tradition of fiddleheads is so rooted in Maine culture that there is even an annual “Fiddlehead Foodie Fest” in May celebrating the delicacy with cooking contests and tastings by well-known local chefs.” – Visit Maine
They can be found all over New England and Eastern parts of Canada, in lowland forests and in damp, shaded areas. Be mindful when foraging for fiddleheads, as with everything else.
Ways to make this recipe your own:
- Use olive oil, plant-based milk, and nutritional yeast instead of butter, cream, and parmesan to make this a vegan recipe;
- Use whatever pasta you have at home – any shape works for this light sauce;
- Top with fresh herbs like basil or dill, both would be lovely with the woodsy flavor of fiddleheads.
Stay tuned for one more fiddlehead fern recipe this week. DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? I want to see it! Follow Cooking with Books on Instagram, take a photo, and tag me in it. I love to know what you are making and how you made this recipe your own!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- ½ cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream)
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pound fresh fiddlehead ferns, washed and trimmed
- ½ pound dry spaghetti
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter over medium heat and add the zest and juice of one lemon. Reduce the heat to low.
- Meanwhile, start cooking your pasta, as this is a quick sauce. Once your pasta is HALFWAY cooked, add the fiddleheads in to boil with the pasta and cook.
- While the pasta and fiddleheads finish cooking, you're going to finish your sauce. Add the milk and parmesan cheese, whisk so it becomes a sauce quickly. Remove from heat.
- Drain the pasta and fiddleheads, saving ½ cup pasta water.
- Add pasta and fiddleheads to sauce, toss and coat the pasta. Add pasta water to loosen sauce if needed only.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, serve with an extra teaspoon of butter to bring it all together.