The first signs of spring bring a sigh of relief into the kitchen. No more cold cellar scrounging or heavy stews filled with root vegetables. The thawing earth brings the first bounty of fresh, wild food: maple syrup, wild leeks and fiddleheads.
The fiddlehead is the small curled frond of a young fern with a delicious earthy flavour, similar to a green bean. Despite their relatively short growing and harvesting season, the possibilities with these green tendrils are nearly endless.
They are delicious when simply steamed, or pan-fried in butter. In this recipe, we bake them into a delicious cheesy tart, perfect for your spring brunch.
Let tart cool 10 minutes before serving.
For the pastry, preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a food processor mix flours, salt and sugar. Add in butter and pulse until butter is evenly dispersed into pea-size pieces. Add vinegar and pulse. Run the food processor as you add water a teaspoon at a time, through the spout on the top until dough comes together into a smooth ball.
On a floured surface, roll dough in a circle until about 12 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick.
Place rolled out dough into the tart pan and gently press into and up sides. Discard excess dough. Poke the surface of the dough with a fork. Place a piece of parchment over dough and place baking weights on top. Bake until edges of crust begin to turn golden, about 12 minutes.
Remove from oven and remove baking weights and parchment. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F.
For the filling, heat butter on a non-stick pan over medium. Sweat shallots until translucent and fragrant.
In a medium pot, bring water to boil. Using a steamer basket, steam fiddleheads for 10 minutes until bright green and tender.
In a large bowl beat eggs with milk. Add in cheeses, fiddleheads, shallots, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into tart shell.
Bake until mixture is set and turning golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.