Sautéed Fiddleheads with Lemon & Garlic

Fiddleheads are one of spring's earliest culinary gems. Resembling the curled end of a fiddle, fiddleheads are the tightly rolled tips of ostrich ferns that, when cooked, offer a grassy flavor and texture similar to asparagus. After steaming them, a quick sauté with the simple flavors of lemon and garlic makes for an easy side dish.

a recipe photo of the Sauteed Fiddleheads with Lemon & Garlic
Photo: Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Annie Probst
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins


  • 1 pound fiddleheads (about 5 cups)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket.

  2. Place fiddleheads in a large bowl of water and swish to remove any debris. Rinse the fiddleheads well and remove any brown, papery skin. Transfer to the steamer basket; steam for 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and scatter on a clean kitchen towel; pat dry.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads; cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, then lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

107 Calories
8g Fat
8g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 2/3 cup
Calories 107
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 5g 10%
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Vitamin A 4103IU 82%
Vitamin C 38mg 42%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 3mcg 1%
Sodium 147mg 6%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 40mg 10%
Potassium 441mg 9%
Zinc 1mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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