Fiddleheads with lemon, garlic and prosciutto

Total Time
35 min
5 min
30 min
Elegant and unusual, you’ll want to eat this dish the moment it comes off the stove — either as a first course or a side dish for chicken or fish off the grill. This dish is sure to impress, despite its simple preparation, for the uniqueness of its ingredients. Be sure that you remove all of the lemon's bitter pith before chopping its rind in step 3 to guarantee that you get the fruit's bright citrus flavor, with none of its harsh bite. Add this dish to your next dinner party menu. It's sure to be a crowd pleasing side with plenty of "wow!" factor. If you don't find fiddleheads, asparagus spears make a fine substitute, though are not quite as show stopping.


Fresh lemon with peel

1 item(s)

Uncooked fiddlehead ferns

3 cup(s)

Cooking spray

2 spray(s)


2 oz, crudo, thinly sliced, then finely chopped


2 clove(s), slivered

White wine

3 Tbsp, dry, or dry vermouth

Black pepper

½ tsp


  1. 1. Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters with water, add lemon, and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until lemon is quite soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. 2. Increase heat to medium-high; add fiddleheads and cook, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain everything in a colander set in the sink; rinse with cool water until contents reach room temperature. Set lemon aside. Cool 15 minutes.
  3. 3. Cut lemon in half; scrape out and discard soft flesh, any seeds, and pith. Finely chop rind.
  4. 4. Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook 2 minutes, stirring often, until crispy. Transfer prosciutto to a bowl or plate.
  5. 5. Add garlic to the skillet; cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until blistered. Add fiddleheads and chopped lemon rind. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vermouth or wine, and pepper. Cook about 1 minute, until vermouth or wine reduces to a glaze. Top with crunchy prosciutto to serve. Serving size: 2/3 cup


For the best taste, pick through the bins to buy the smallest fiddleheads you can find. Make sure yours are firm, without any mushy spots — and also not too “hairy” with brown filaments in the curls, a sign of advanced age. Large or old fiddleheads can be unpleasantly bitter and tough. But if small and fresh, they’re a wonderful extravagance, a little creamy, still crunchy, and very sophisticated.Like this recipe? Share it! (The icons at the top make it easy.)