Friday, April 27, 2012

Wild Spring Tart



While we wait impatiently for our gardens to bear fruit, nature offers her bounty early.  Ostrich ferns, in the fleeting moments before they unfurl, are snipped and harvested.  That poncy poetic imagery leads me to wonder what those poor ostrich ferns might look like if we Vermonters weren't such greedy foragers and let those beauties survive our snippers.  But they're tasty, so I guess we'll never know.

And ramps are often the byproduct of a morel search that's come up goose eggs.  No morels in sight near that sandy hill near a stream?  Keep looking for ramps. Bottom line, just walk out of that forest with something free and tasty to nosh.

fiddleheads, ramps and goat cheese.  Hello, almost free lunch!

Fiddleheads.
Speaking of goose eggs, the geese are laying.  They lay a few months out of the year.  But don't try to grab an egg while the ladies are on the nest.  They hiss and bite.  It hurts.  If you don't have water fowl ranging your back pasture, three hens eggs will do just fine.

Line the tart pan with puff pastry and layer with fortified goat cheese.

Add sauteed ramps.

BACON!

INGREDIENTS

10 ounces puff pastry (recipe from Pie it Forward!)
6 ramps
10 fiddle heads
4 ounces goat cheese (I use Vermont Creamery's)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
3 strips thick cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 goose egg

PROCEDURE

•Preheat oven to 375º

•Roll the puff into a 10" x 10" square.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a 9" x 9" square tart pan and dock.  Freeze for 10 minutes.

•While the puff is freezing, stir together the goat cheese, rosemary, lemon zest and anchovy paste.

•Crisp the bacon in a large pan until crispy.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel.  Keep the bacon fat in the pan.

•Chop the bulbs and ramp leaves.  Saute the ramp bulbs in the bacon fat until soft and then add the leaves and saute until barely wilted (literally a second or two).  Transfer the ramps to a bowl and allow to cool completely.

•Spread the goat cheese mixture in an even layer over the puff pastry.  Layer with the sauteed ramps and sprinkle on the bacon.

•While the tart is baking, fill a small saucepan with water and 1 tablespoon of salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add the fiddleheads and cook for 10 minutes, covered.  Transfer the fiddleheads to a paper towel with a slotted spoon to drain.

•Bake the tart for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges of the pastry are golden brown.  The pastry may puff in the middle but will fall again once out of the oven.


•In a very small skillet sprayed with non--stick cooking spray (I use a 6" skillet), fry the egg over medium low heat until the yolk is barely set.

•Transfer the egg to the middle of the tart and arrange the fiddleheads over the tart.  Serve warm.