Foraged Fiddlehead Fern Pasta

May 7, 2014 by BenVaughn

Each Spring yields Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens these are furled fronds of a young fern and harvested for the use as vegetables. If left on the plant, each Fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond. Fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height. Now for the dish, with it’s earthy, savory and big texture this pasta is a big seasonal celebration.


preparation time
30 mins

cook time




1 pounds whole wheat bow-tie pasta cooked in salted rolling boil water

8 ounces fiddlehead ferns brushed clean with a tooth brush and rinsed

4 ounces feta cheese crumbled

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1 teaspoons finely chopped shallots

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons small leek diced 1/8 inch



Begin with a pot of boiling water and season the water with kosher salt to taste like the ocean. Once the pot has reached a rolling boil, add your cleaned ferns to the pot, boil for 2 minutes and remove. Immediately submerge the hot ferns to an ice bath to shock, chill and stop the cooking process (they should be bright green and slightly crunchy) With the same boiling liquid add your bow tie pasta. Boil the pasta until cooked "firm to the tooth" not gooey and soft. In a saute pan, add the shallots, leeks and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. Cook your aromatics until translucent, on low heat. As the pasta begins to finish, add the pasta to the saute pan away from the heat, and include a few tablespoons of the well seasoned cooking liquid ( a.k.a salted water) reduce the liquid in the pan dry and finish with a drizzle of olive oil, add the ferns, crumbled feta cheese, and pine nuts. Toss quickly to restore heat to each of the ingredients and serve. This is an elevated simple and quite healthy dish that you can prepare seasonally with foraged ferns. If your fresh out of ferns, substitute with broiled asparagus, or peeled and blanched broccoli stalks. The salt content in the feta needs to be observed, be careful not to over season your saute pan. Fresh cracked pepper and lemon juice are great substitutes for cutting back on sodium. - Cheers


Fyi Network chef personality, Food Network host, World Food Championships Host, Chef, author Southern Routes, caffeine inspired.