Fiddleheads! What to do?

Today I had just 10 minutes for lunch. These coiled-up fern shoots showed up at my local organic market. They come up in the forest in the spring. Their taste is sweet – something like wild asparagus and green beans. Since I love asparagus omelets, I thought I’d experiment with fiddleheads, throwing in a few shiitakes and garlic. Yummilicious! A Fiddlehead Shiitake Omelet!

If you can scramble an egg, you can make an omelet. And there’s nothing comparable to the flavor of fresh wild greens with pastured eggs. Omelets are best made one at a time. I first sautéed the fiddlesticks in a skillet, and then cooked the omelet in an 8-inch pan. This recipe serves one, or you can double or triple it to make as many omelets as you want. It would make a nice frittata too!

If you’re foraging, I recently learned from a reader that Ostrich Fern fiddleheads are the edible ones, with a brown papery coating and a v-shaped groove in the stem. Avoid cinnamon ferns that are fuzzy and mildly toxic. Some types of ferns can be carcinogenic.

fiddleheads For the filling: Sauté the fiddleheads and garlic briefly in olive oil. Add mushrooms and continue to cook. Add 2T water, cover, reduce heat, and steam 2-5 minutes until tender.


Cook the eggs in a separate small pan. Fill with fiddleheads. Your omelet is served!

Fiddlehead Shiitake Omelet



    For the Fiddlehead Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh fiddleheads
  • 1 small handful shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • For the omelet:
  • 1 tablespoon oil for each omelet
  • 2-3 eggs for each omelet, depending on your hunger level. I used 2 eggs.
  • 2 tablespoons alternative milk or filtered water
  • unprocessed salt and pepper to taste


    Sauté the Fiddleheads:
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet until a drop of water sizzles. Add garlic and fiddleheads. Sauté 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, reduce the heat, and steam until fiddleheads are tender. Watch carefully that they don't dry out and burn.
  2. Cook the omelet:
  3. Crack 2-3 eggs into a cereal bowl. Add 2 tablespoons alternative milk or water, salt and pepper. Whisk well until smooth.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small 8-inch pan until a drop of water sizzles. Pour in the eggs. Turn down the heat and cover. Do not stir. Just let the eggs cook for about 1 minute until the bottom starts to set.
  5. With a heat-resistant spatula, gently lift one side of the egg without breaking it, tip the pan a bit, and allow the liquid egg to flow underneath into the bottom of the pan. Do this all around if you like. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, barely cooked on the top, and can slide to release from the pan.
  6. Now you're ready to serve. Spoon the filling into the egg in the pan, so it covers half of the circle of eggs. Gently slide the omelet from the pan onto your plate, filled side first, folding over the other half as you go. Enjoy!

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

2 Replies to "Fiddleheads! What to do?"

  • comment-avatar
    Jan April 24, 2022 (10:32 am)

    The photo at the top of your post are not the kinds of fiddleheads you want to tell people to eat. You only want to eat the Ostrich Fern fiddleheads, which have a brown papery coating and a v-shaped groove in the stem. Cinnamon ferns, which may be the fuzzy looking ferns in the photo, are mildly toxic and some types of ferns are carcinogens.

    • comment-avatar
      Jane Barthelemy April 24, 2022 (6:01 pm)

      Hello Jan, Thank you so much for your comment. I have edited this post. Best wishes to you and thanks again! Jane

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.