Photo by Machel Spence | SpencePhotography.com
By Ryan Thornburg, Executive Chef
and owner of Thornburg & Company
2 pounds fiddlehead ferns, trimmed and washed
¼ pound pancetta, cut into small dice
6 tablespoons brown butter
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon capers
Blanching the fiddleheads takes away the bitter flavor: Have a medium bowl half-filled with ice water ready as you bring a large pot containing 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Cook the fiddleheads for 1 minute, drain in a colander and then submerge in the ice water until completely cool. Then drain well in a colander and wrap the fiddleheads in a clean kitchen towel to dry.
Place the diced pancetta in a medium skillet and sauté on low heat until crispy and fat has been rendered. Drain on paper towel and reserve.
Lightly brown the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads and toss gently, adding ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Heat for a minute or 2 until they are warm. Remove from heat and add squeezed lemon and capers. Sprinkle with crispy pancetta and serve.