Early spring means fiddleheads! These are the young, tightly curled fronds of the ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris). If you can’t find fiddleheads, you could try this soup with sliced fresh asparagus, but we urge you to try and hunt down these delightful tender plants of spring if you can!
Fiddleheads are the young furled-up Ostrich fern. They’re named for their resemblance to the ornamental ends of fiddles and other stringed instruments.
You can harvest fiddleheads for free if you know where to find them. These edible ferns grow prolifically in wild and wet areas near water throughout New England and eastern parts of Canada.
Also, you can often find fiddleheads at local farmers’ markets and health food stores but this short-lived delicacy can be pricey.
Note: The ostrich fern’s young shoots look like a number of other young ferns—many of which are inedible or even poisonous. ONLY consume foraged fiddleheads if you can CONFIRM that they are indeed those of the ostrich fern!
Steam the fiddleheads for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and bouillon cubes over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads, onions, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes. Add the milk, stir frequently, and heat thoroughly. Add the cream, stir to incorporate, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve steaming hot.