This recipe for Cream of Fiddlehead Soup is the perfect way to enjoy the early Spring delicacy known as ostrich fern fiddleheads. A delightfully creamy soup features a simple base of broth, fiddleheads, and potatoes, and is finished with real cream and a heaping handful of parmesan cheese.
I've already shared with you my method for how to cook fiddleheads, as well as how to freeze fiddleheads. Today I wanted to share a delicious way to enjoy this Springtime favorite in a soup form: Cream of Fiddlehead Soup!
This comforting, hearty, and satisfying soup is the perfect main dish for a crisp Spring evening. Serve it with a crusty baguette, some crispy crackers, or a delicious sandwich for a complete meal.
Reasons to Love This Recipe:
- It's a unique and delicious way to enjoy the brief, but highly anticipated fiddlehead season.
- No flour and no roux needed, meaning this soup is easy to make and completely gluten-free.
- There is little fussing - just add the ingredients, simmer, and finish with cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- A subtle, yet indulgent way to celebrate the unique flavor of this seasonal delicacy.
- Fiddleheads: These can be found at Farmers' Markets and stands across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine during fiddlehead season (late April-early June). You will need 2 cups chopped, which is about ¾ of a pound.
- Potatoes: I recommend a softer potato like new potatoes or Yukon gold.
- Heavy cream: Also known as whipping cream, this is used to add creaminess to the soup without making a roux or adding any flour or cornstarch.
- Chicken broth: This is the liquid that the fiddleheads and potatoes will cook in. If you don't have any broth on hand you can add bouillon cubes to hot water for an easy substitute.
- Shallot (or onion): This adds a subtle onion flavor. If you don't have shallots on hand use one-half of a small onion.
- Butter: This is for sauteing the shallot. It can be substituted for olive oil if you prefer.
- Lemon juice: A little bit of citrus acidity adds the perfect balance to this creamy fiddlehead soup recipe.
- Parmesan cheese: The addition of Parmigiano-Reggiano is the perfect complement to earthy fiddleheads and hearty potatoes.
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
How to Clean Fiddleheads
- If still in place, remove the brown papery husk from the head.
- Trim ¼-½ inch of the stem off the bottom of each fiddlehead, effectively removing the browned edges.
- Place the fiddleheads in a bowl of clean water to soak for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse well, then drain the fiddleheads and rinse 2-3 times, or until the water runs mostly clean.
- Optionally, use a salad spinner. Spin the greens gently, rinsing with cool water until the water runs mostly clear.
- Shake or spin to remove excess water.
- Proceed with steaming or boiling to cook, or blanch for freezing.
Safety Guidelines for Cooking Fiddleheads
- Read the information from Health Canada for avoiding food poisoning and food-borne illness when consuming fiddleheads.
- Clean and trim fiddleheads before cooking.
- Steam for 10-12 minutes, or cook in a pot of boiling salted water for 15 minutes before consuming.
- Only use fiddleheads that are from the Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris).
- Purchase your fiddleheads from a reputable source, and only forage for them if you are accompanied by an experienced local guide.
How to Make Fiddlehead Soup
Step one: Saute the shallot (or small onion) in a tablespoon of melted butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Step two: Add in the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in the potatoes, chopped fiddleheads, salt, and pepper.
Step three: Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and loosely cover the pot. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender.
Adding the Cream
Step four: Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and heavy cream.
Step five: Use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture until smooth.
Without an immersion blender: If you don't have a handheld stick blender you can puree the soup by transferring it (carefully) to a standard blender or food processor. Alternatively, you can press soup through a food mill.
Step six: Return the soup to the heat and cook until thickened - about 5 minutes - stirring often.
Step seven: Remove the creamy fiddlehead soup from the heat and add the grated parmesan cheese. Stir well until melted. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
How to Serve
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche (or sour cream), freshly snipped herbs, chopped green onions, or a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
This creamy fiddlehead soup is best enjoyed with a crusty loaf of bread, but it's just as delicious with some buttery crackers or a hearty sandwich.
Storing Leftovers and Freezing
Leftover soup can be stored in a covered large saucepan or airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze it?
Fiddlehead soup also freezes fairly well, although it does separate during the thawing and reheating process.
To freeze: transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container, label, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this recipe can absolutely work with other greens. I recommend using another fresh spring vegetable like asparagus (cut into 2" pieces), chopped Swiss chard, or very fresh green beans (cut into 2" pieces) since those are the closest in flavor to wild fiddleheads.
Ostrich fern fiddleheads are an early spring delicacy and are typically concentrated in the Atlantic Northeast of North America, some regions in Europe, Japan, and Australia. They can be found in season at Farmer's markets, roadside stands, local health food stores, natural grocers, or through local guides and foragers.
Yes. If you have purchased or prepared frozen fiddleheads, they can be used to make fiddlehead soup. For the best results, allow them to thaw before preparing the soup, and make sure to cook them for the recommended amount of time to ensure they are safe to consume.
If you loved this recipe for Fiddlehead Soup, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card, OR tag me on Instagram @maritimecountrykitchen!
Creamy Fiddlehead Soup
- Hand blender immersion or traditional
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot minced (or ½ small onion)
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 2 cups cubed potatoes 2-3 medium potatoes
- 2 cups chopped fiddleheads about ¾ pound
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Before chopping your fiddleheads, be sure to clean them thoroughly by soaking them for 5-10 minutes in a bowl of cool water. Then rinse and drain until the water runs mostly clean. Now they are ready to be chopped and measured.
- Heat a Dutch Oven or large saucepan over medium heat, then add the butter and swirl until it melts.
- Add the minced shallot (or onion) and saute until semi-translucent - about 3-4 minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth, and stir well.
- Add the diced potatoes, chopped fiddleheads, salt, and pepper.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium, cover loosely, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes and fiddleheads are very tender.
- Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup into a smooth consistency.
- Return to the heat and stir in the lemon juice and heavy cream.
- Bring to a low boil and cook until thickened - about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream (optional) and some freshly snipped herbs.