Friday, May 6, 2011

Fiddlehead pie: a recipe

Making this pie was not as exhausting as it might seem...
It's really a quiche but I had to call it a pie because, according to the recipe:
This is called a pie and not a quiche because Vermonters do not eat quiche.
Well, alrighty then ... pie it is.

A little background: Fiddleheads are actually the unfurled frond of a fern, which looks very much like the curled end of a violin. While they may be found on different varieties of edible ferns all over the world (they are especially beloved in France, I'm told), they are traditional in Northern New England (Maine, more specifically), as well as in Quebec and the Maritimes in Canada.

Full disclosure: I am a New Englandah but this is my first experience with fiddleheads. I did not grow up in a very food-adventurous household and, when interesting local foods became chic and cool, I was long gone to the South, where I learned about things like okra (bleeeeeck), collards (yum yum) and grits (best with sausage and cheese).

So, being back home in New England now, I figured I had to give fiddleheads a try this year to see what all the fuss is about.

A Facebook friend mentioned that he likes to eat them raw, so I tried them that way first. Meh. Not my cup of tea (sorry, Greg).

Next, according to step one of the recipe, I sauteed them in a little oil with some onion (the basis for the quiche-I-mean-pie) and gave them a taste: shazam! Crispy and flavorful, tasting (to me) a little like a lima bean without the mushy center. And I mean that in a good way.

Anyone who reads the Ninj regularly knows that Mr. Ninj and I err a little too much on the meatasaurus side, so I threw some baked bacon in the quiche-I-mean-pie as well -- the recipe doesn't call for it so you are welcome to leave it out. Although, frankly, I don't know why you would, if you're not a vegetarian.

Shout out to my friend Jane Z. for suggesting I try this recipe, which she found online, courtesy of The Combes Family Inn of Ludlow, Vermont.

Fiddle away, my friends, as these little fernlets are only available for a few weeks in the spring.

Fiddlehead Pie (adapted from The Combes Family Inn of Ludlow, Vermont)

1 uncooked 9-inch pie crust (make your own or use a frozen shell)
2 cups of fiddleheads, coarsely chopped
1 small chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1 cup shredded Vermont sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1 cup low-fat half and half
1 tablespoon of coarse mustard
2 tablespoons of flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Precook the pie crust for 10 minutes to prevent a soggy crust. Meanwhile, saute the fiddleheads and onions in olive oil. Put in the precooked crust, followed by the bacon (if you're using it) and cheese. In a bowl, blend the eggs, mustard, flour and half and half and pour into pie crust over other ingredients.

Bake at 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the pie comes out clean. Let set for 5 minutes to firm up before cutting.

No comments:

Post a Comment