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Local fiddleheads are a fleeting favorite

Bethany Graber for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Fiddleheads — named for their resemblance to the scroll-shaped piece atop the neck of a fiddle — are little green pinwheels that have recently appeared alongside other spring vegetables at farmers’ markets and grocers. Locally foraged and in season for the next couple of weeks, these vibrant jade beauties are actually the coiled stalks of ostrich ferns. Since they must be harvested before they unfurl, their season is fleeting, which affects their pricing ($10 to $12 a pound). You can boil, roast, or saute them and they can easily pinch-hit for asparagus or green beans. With a flavor that is earthy and distinct, once cooked they are tender yet firm, and the fronds of these would-be ferns add a pleasant texture. They look like something out of Alice’s wonderland, but they are quite real — and quite tasty. Available at Allandale Farm, 259 Allandale Road, Brookline, 617-524-1531; American Provisions, 613 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-6100.
Bethany Graber