Uh fiddle-what? To everyone who doesn’t live in the northeast, no those aren’t worms in the picture, they are called fiddleheads! This fiddlehead and ramp cheese tart screams spring.
Fiddleheads are the furled fronds of young ferns and are harvested as vegetables. They are grown in the northeast so to all my Florida readers, I had no idea what they were either. Living in South Florida I never thought I would ever get my hands on some, so when I saw them at my local market I obviously caused a scene.
They are rich in omega-3/6’s, antioxidants, and fiber. You want to ensure you cook them fully due to microbes that could be present. If you are foraging for them yourself in the northeast please educate due to certain species being toxic [so better safe to just get them in the grocery store]. I clean them throughly scrubbing off the brown papery bits and then you are going to boil them for 15 minutes to ensure they get cooked through. Even if you wanted to just simply sauté them, still boil them down.
Another fun spring vegetable is ramps! Ramps are hard to describe… they taste to me like a garlicky scallion, but in a delicate way. Ramps are also one of the first harvested vegetables when spring first starts. Much like the fiddleheads, the season is short so they are also hard to find.
Ramps need to be cleaned throughly as well, I mean hello they were just chillin in the dirt. Once you have throughly cleaned them, you can actually utilize the entire plant for cooking, but for this recipe I just used the bulbs and some of the leaves. If the leaves are tough or brown, cut those off along with the roots.
You can totally make your own puff pastry dough, but yeah frozen store bought is more my style. Let it defrost before unraveling it, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone, stab holes in it, and bake for 10 minutes.
While the puff pastry is getting a pre-cook and your fiddleheads are still boiling, time to grate some cheese. I chose fontina and gruyere because of their flavors and textures. Fontina is a soft cheese with buttery and nutty notes and gruyere is harder, but has a salty nutty flavor. They both also melt beautifully.
You’re going to mix the cheeses with two egg yolks, a few tablespoons of milk, salt, pepper, and I added a pinch of cinnamon.
Remove the puff pastry from the oven and spread your cheese mixture leaving about 1/2in-1in from the sides. Once your fiddleheads are done boiling, I put them in cold water to stop the cooking process, then I tossed them + the ramps in a little olive oil and salt/pepper.
Arrange your toppings on the tart and put it in the oven for 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.
When you take it out you have a delicious cheesy and flakey tart topped with spring fiddleheads and ramps! Note: I know its difficult to find fiddleheads in certain parts of the US so you can also try this recipe using asparagus! Instead of boiling for 15 minutes, just quickly blanch them in the boiling water for 5.
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Fiddlehead Ramp Cheese Tart
Fiddlehead, ramp, and cheese tart with gruyere and fontina cheese over puff pastry.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking
- 4 oz fiddleheads, cleaned and prepped (see instructions below)
- 4 stalks ramps, cleaned and roots removed, roughly chopped
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 pound), defrosted
- 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- small pinch cinnamon
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Prepping fiddleheads: Under cold running water, thoroughly wash the fiddleheads, rubbing them to remove any brown papery substance, and ensure to get in the crevices of the stem. Rinse them until all dirt is removed. Pat dry with a paper towel. Using a pairing knife, cut off the dark ended stems.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small pot of boiling water, add the fiddleheads and allow them to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and add to an ice bath to discontinue the cooking. (Ice bath: small bowl with a handful of ice cubes filled with water). Dump out the water, add the ramps in with the fiddleheads, the 2 tsp of olive oil, salt/ pepper, toss to coat and set aside.
- While the fiddleheads are boiling, unravel the defrosted puff pastry and place on a lined baking sheet (you can use silicone mat or parchment paper). Using a fork, poke holes in the puff pastry, then place in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove.
- In a small bowl, add the gruyere, fontina, 2 egg yolks, milk, pinch of cinnamon and mix together until combined. Spread onto the puff pastry, leaving 1/2 inch border on all the sides. Top with the fiddleheads and ramps, then cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and cheese is melted. Remove from the oven, slice into squares, and serve!
- It is very important to thoroughly clean the fiddleheads and do not skip the boiling process.
- When boiling the fiddleheads the water may darken if any residue is left behind.
- You can substitute the fiddleheads with asparagus, if doing so you only need to blanch for 5 minutes instead of the 15 min.
Keywords: fiddleheads, ramps, cheese tart, puff pastry, fontina, gruyere