All recipes are for 2 servings unless noted. Oil is canola oil and salt is kosher salt.


Seiyo meshida no gomaae / lady fern fiddleheads in sesame dressing

One of the typical dishes for kogomi ostrich fern fiddleheads in Japan. The recipe below uses locally harvested lady fern fiddleheads. The refreshing taste and aroma of succulent and crispy fiddleheads blend wonderfully with the slightly sweet and toasty taste of sesame dressing. Using the freshest fiddleheads, ideally ones harvested the same day, is the key to bringing out the best taste.

1/2 of recipe (when using kogomi):
28 calories; 1.5 g protein; 1.3 g fat; 2.8 g carbohydrate; 1.1 g net carbs; 58 mg sodium (with 50% reduced sodium; 116 mg with regular soy sauce); 0 mg cholesterol; 1.7 g fiber


8 seiyo meshida lady fern fiddleheads (58 g in photo)

For gomaae dressing
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sake
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp dashi


Gently rub surface of fiddleheads to remove brown fuzzy fluff on stems and curled-up heads. This is easily done by dipping in water or under running water.
Cut off discolored ends (can be done after blanching).


Bring enough water to boil, and blanch fiddleheads for 1 minute or so.
Drain, and cool in a single layer (fanning helps to cool them down fast but is optional).


Meanwhile, microwave sake and mirin together for 10-15 seconds to get rid of alcohol.
Let cool.


Grind sesame seeds in suribachi.
Add soy sauce, sake, mirin and dashi, and mix well. 


When fiddleheads are cool (at least room temperature), cut and add to sesame dressing, and gently mix.


Plate fiddleheads (leave dressing behind).

  • Do not pour remaining dressing in bowls or plates, as fiddleheads would absorb it and become too salty. For the same reason, when preparing this ahead of time plate the dish and set aside, instead of keeping everything in the suribachi or prep bowl.
  • No specific nutrition data is found for lady fern fiddleheads; therefore, the above nutrition figures for this dish are based on information for kogomi.
  • Soaking in ice water after blanching is not necessary with these fiddleheads, unless they have been overcooked and need to cool rapidly.
  • The sesame dressing above is made slightly loose and softer than usual, as a thicker dressing could easily cover up fiddleheads' delicate flavor and aroma.
  • The above nutrition figures are based on the assumption that half of dressing is left in the suribachi and individual bowls. This is a conservative estimate, and actual figures, especially of sodium, should be lower.

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