It has been a long winter followed by a drought-ending deluge. Now we’re supposed to hit the mid-80’s by Wednesday?

All things green are starting to pop, and though I’m worried about a fast forward spring and heading directly to summer, for now it is spring and that means the arrival of ramps.

Also known as wild garlic, wild leek,  and wild onion, the Latin name is Allium Triccocum. This pungent plant is edible, whites and leaves alike. While it is too early to forage for morels, last year I had spotted a small patch of ramps near my mushroom hunting spot and if there is a small patch, perhaps there is more.

So this morning I went over to the area where I’d seen them and I was excited to discover multiple spots I harvested a small amount. I’m careful not to take too many from any one spot, I want them to continue to flourish.   As I walked, it struck me, there are no ferns in these woods yet the ones in the garden are at fiddlehead stage and….. wait a minute!

I’ll combine them to make a spring dish. I can’t take too many of the fiddleheads but I can use them for color and accent.

I’ve adapted an adaptation (?) of Fragrant Onion Tart from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison. I don’t own her cook book but it is on my wish-list.

Ramp and Fiddlehead Tart

Serves 4 as entrée and 8 as a starter

For the filling:
4 ounces (120 g) fresh ramps washed trimmed and sliced
1 ounce (30 g) fiddlehead ferns – about a dozen  (blanched and shocked) – you could substitute asparagus
3 ounces (90 g) bacon lardons (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) of butter
1 heaping teaspoon (5 ml) fresh thyme or two pinches dried
3 eggs
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
2/3 cup (150 ml) grated aged Gouda
1/3 cup (75 ml) grated Parmesano Romano
Salt and Pepper

For the crust:
5 ounces (150 g) flour
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (90 ml) cold butter cubed
3 tablespoons (45 ml) ice water

Make the crust:

  1. Put flour, salt, and butter into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
  2. Turn mixer to low and mix until butter has broken down and flour/butter mixture looks mealy
  3. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is shaggy or starts to come together
  4. Remove dough from bowl, shape into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate

While dough chills,

Make the filling:

  1. In large sauté pan over medium heat cook the bacon lardons until rendered
  2. Remove cooked bacon with slotted spoon, pour off all but 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of fat
  3. Add 1 tablespoon butter to hot pan, swirl until melted. Reduce heat to low
  4. Add the sliced ramps, a pinch of salt and cook stirring often until very soft – about 30 minutes
  5. cooking ramps

  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool, taste and season with salt and pepper
  7. While ramps cool, whisk eggs with sour cream and milk
  8. Stir in cheese, cooled ramps, bacon and thyme

Assemble the tart:

  1. Heat oven to 400F (200C or Gas Mark 6)
  2. Roll out dough to fit tart pan, drape dough into pan, trim to fit. Place it on a baking sheet pan
  3. Pour egg, cheese ramp mixture into tart pan
  4. Arrange fiddleheads on surface in attractive pattern
  5. Put tart on sheet pan into oven and bake until top is golden, and browned in spots – about 45- 50 minutes
  6. Cool to warm or room temperature before cutting into portions and serving

Ramp Tart Parallax
The long slow cooking of the ramps takes out most of the pungency, before they were cooked their, uh, perfume was filling the house, and that is only from a small bunch. Once cooled this onion and cheese tart is perfect for a brunch or light dinner.

The finished dish is so good, I promptly ate two slices, the ramps were mild and the fiddleheads subtle. I’m looking forward to having some for breakfast!

As a side note, yesterday as promised I sent out the notebooks to those of the first 100 subscribers who took the time to send me a postal address. It was great to hear the encouraging words from subscribers as they relayed their postal addresses. The nearest one lives only about 15 miles from here and the furthest one I sent was to South Africa! I’m curious to how long it will take to arrive. If you think of it, and you’re expecting a notebook, please let me know that it arrived safely and in good order.

Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!