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Quick Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns


Quick Pickled Fiddlehead Ferns — now that is more of a mouthful. Say that five times fast…go ahead, we’ll wait.  Tough, eh?  Ok, back to the matter at hand.  I had never of heard of fiddlehead ferns until Memorial Day weekend two years ago, but now they are on the menu everywhere.  It is even pretty common to find them in higher end grocery stores in Chicago (Whole Foods and Treasure Island, for example).

Last time I introduced you all to the fern and talked about a quick way to prepare (you can read that here — it’s just like a haricot vert, but without the haricot).  Last weekend we were out celebrating a birthday with a friend and on the charcuterie plate we were presented with pickled fiddlehead ferns. What a great little surprise. I never thought about pickling these things before.  One of my goals for the year was to learn how to pickle something — sounds like a great plan for the weekend.

The ingredients list is small, but everything is critical.

Start by washing the ferns and removing any brown sections (also the fury brown areas should be removed — every time I have purchased ferns they have already been partially cleaned).  Salt a pan of water and bring to a boil. Drop the ferns in the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. 
Plunge the ferns into an ice water bath. Rinse the ferns, plunge again in ice water and rinse again. The ferns will have a beautiful bright green color.  Dry the ferns on a cotton towel then place them into a non-reactive (glass or ceramic) bowl.
In a separate dish combine the vinegar, salt and sugar until the solids are all dissolved. 
Pour the vinegar solution over the fiddleheads (in the non-reactive dish), ensuring the ferns are completely covered with liquid (if not add more vinegar – no need to add more salt or sugar).
Cover the fiddleheads with plastic wrap or another lid and place in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.
To serve, drain the fiddleheads and serve as an accompaniment to a charcuterie plate or as a regular side dish.
The ferns are quite crunchy and have a great color and a refreshingly briny bite.  Have you had fiddleheads before? How did you prepare them? Have you tried quick pickling a vegetable this summer?  What is your favorite recipe?  Do you can your pickled veggies or do you just quick pickle and consume?
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