Fiddleheads with Bacon and Balsamic

by Patricia Eddy on April 12, 2011

Fiddleheads with Bacon and Balsamic

We’re on a balsamic kick around here ever since Rockridge Orchards released the 2011 vintage of their Rocksalmic Vinegar. We realized that we simply didn’t use much of what we bought from them last year, and since we bought two more bottles this year, we’ve decided to be a little less stingy with this liquid gold they produce. I love to use balsamic in sauces and with fresh vegetables because I find that the sweetness of the balsamic counteracts any bitterness in the veggies.

Along with Rocksalmic vinegar, another common sign of spring in the Pacific Northwest is the Fiddlehead Fern. Each of these little spirals would have become the frond of a fern had they been left on the plant, but instead, they make a tasty treat. Fiddleheads are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6, as well as iron. They have a very clean, mild flavor. When cooking them, blanch them in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, and then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to lock in the color and stop the cooking process. After that, you can saute or stir fry them for an additional couple of minutes to finish your dish.

Fiddleheads with Bacon and Balsamic

Serves 2 as a side dish

  • 1/2 pound fiddleheads, ends trimmed and fuzzy brown bits scrubbed
  • 2 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set a pot with salted water over medium-high heat. Set aside a bowl of ice water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the fiddleheads.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the fiddleheads.
  4. Drain and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  5. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon.
  6. Cook until most of the fat has rendered from the bacon and it is about 85% cooked.
  7. Add the fiddleheads and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  8. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, cook for one more minute, and serve, seasoned with salt and pepper.

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Boulder Locavore April 13, 2011 at 4:13 am

Like you we are seeking out the signs of spring in Colorado. Our Farmer’s Market has just opened and it’s so great to have ‘new food’ (out of the root cellar, canning pantry and freezer). Sorrel just appeared which always feels like more is coming soon. I so envy your fiddlehead ferns! What a beautiful, rustic dish.

Charles G Thompson April 13, 2011 at 5:19 pm

What a simple yet delicious looking and sounding dish. Time to locate some fiddlehead ferns!

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