- ½ pound fiddlehead ferns, trimmed of any split, broken, or dirty stems
- Kosher salt
- 2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shelled fava beans, long-blanched and peeled (about 2 pounds in the pod)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
The availability of fiddleheads, bright green curls of baby fern, limited to only a few weeks in late spring and early summer, makes this a once-a-year combination.
- Drop the fiddleheads into a bowl of room-temperature water. Swirl with your hand to remove the brown papery parts.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While it’s heating, prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the fiddleheads to the boiling water and blanch until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge the fiddleheads into the ice water to stop the cooking; drain thoroughly.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until it begins to render its fat and get crispy, about 4 minutes. Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook until the garlic is aromatic, just a minute. (If it starts to sizzle as soon as it hits the pan, lower the heat so it doesn’t burn.) Add the favas and fiddleheads, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re heated through. Drizzle with the lemon juice and serve immediately.