Fiddlehead ferns are the the unfurled fronds of specific varieties of green fern. The little tender coils can be lightly sauteed, steamed or eaten raw and taste similar to asparagus. Purchase fiddlehead ferns in farmer's markets and some well-stocked grocery stores. Select bright green, plump looking fronds and avoid yellowing or limp looking fern. Use within one or two days of purchase.
From a practical side, if you're making a recipe that specifies fiddlehead ferns it probably means you already have them or plan to purchase them. If for some reason you do need a substitute then you can use one of these alternatives:
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