Fiddlehead and Leek Tart
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Fiddleheads (or fiddlehead greens) are the furled fronds of a fern plant (say that five times fast). They're harvested in the spring, and the season is short, so when you see them, snap them up to make this delicious cheesy tart. You can use a from-scratch pastry dough or a store-bought puffed pastry.
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Yield: serves 2
1 recipe pie crust (such as this one) or 1 (10 x 17-inch) store bought puff pastry sheet
8 oz fiddleheads, washed and boiled (see note)
2 large leeks, chopped into 1/4 inch rounds, white and light green parts only
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp white wine or cooking sherry
2 tsp thyme leaves, minced
1 tsp rosemary leaves, minced
1/3 cup whipping cream or milk
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, grated
1/2 cup Emmenthal cheese, grated
lemon wedge for serving
NOTE: fiddleheads must be cleaned and boiled before eating, or they can cause illness. Here's how to make them safe to eat:
To thoroughly wash the fiddleheads, fill your sink about half-full with cold water. By hand, pick off the dry brown bits from the fiddleheads and swirl them around in the water to remove any dirt.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the fiddleheads and allow to boil for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove using a slotted spoon and set aside (the water will be brownish now that the toxins have been removed from the fiddleheads).
Make the tart
Heat the oven to 450F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Wash the leeks well and drain completely. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter with a tbsp olive oil. Add the leeks to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they are softened, about 10 mins.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 2 mins), then add the wine and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add in the fiddleheads and cook until wine has evaporated.
Remove from the heat and add rosemary and thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Roll out the pastry to an approx. size of 10 x 17-inch rectangle that's about 1/8 inch thick. Ley the pastry on the parchment-covered sheet pan. Lightly score a line around the edges, about 1 inch from the edge, to form a border. Poke holes with a fork throughout the base so it doesn't puff up too much.
Bake the pastry until lightly browned, about 7-10 mins. Remove from the oven.
Whisk 1 egg with cream or milk, and season with 1/4 tsp salt, the nutmeg and some ground pepper.
Whisk the other egg with a tsp of water and brush it over the edge of the pastry.
Spread the leek and fiddlehead mixture over the base of the crust and top with half the cheese.
Carefully pour the egg and cream mixture over the whole thing, avoiding the edges of the tart. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake until the crust is puffed and toasty brown and the cheese is melty, 15-20 mins.
Let rest for 5 mins before cutting. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Zhuzh it up!
Not fiddlehead season? No problem! This tart would also be delicious with another green veggie. How about asparagus or broccoli?
This recipe was adapted from the Artichoke and Asparagus Tart recipe by Laura Bradbury in the Bisous & Brioche cook book.