Sautéed Fiddleheads Recipe

On a recent trip to Alaska we hunted, fished and foraged. A bear was shot, sockeye salmon were caught, and nearly a bushel of fiddlehead shoots was picked.

Each day we navigated up the river to access sloughs that bordered avalanche slides to glass for bears. Young subarctic ladyferns grew in bunches on the sides of these waterways, where we’d stop and fill our packs. The rich glacial soil in this moist climate is the perfect environment for these ferns to flourish.

Our dinner plates back at the cabin filled up with various renditions of fiddlehead feasts each night. This particular dish with crisp, fresh greens worked well with sweet, caramelized onions and bacon. This side was a favorite next to the plethora of wild meats we explored at black bear camp.

Fiddlehead shoots ready to be picked in Alaska.

Serving size


Time to make

10 minutes


3 to 4 Cups Fiddleheads
4 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 onion

Also works with

Leafy greens

Special equipment

Colander, frying pan




  1. Place foraged fiddleheads into a colander. Rinse to remove brown sheaths and shake dry. Not all brown sheaths will rinse off, but this won’t change the taste.
  2. Dice the onion and set aside.

Fiddlehead Sauté

  1. In a large heated pan, lay the bacon strips down. Remove the bacon once the strips are cooked to a chewy consistency.
  2. Add diced onion to the pan to carmelize.
  3. Chop the bacon and add back to the pan.
  4. Add fiddleheads to the pan over medium heat and sauté for 5 minutes, or until tender.