I do respect Hank Shaw‘s foraging skills, his synchronization with the nature that surrounds him, there in Northern California. I saw his recipe for a “Salad of Morels, Fiddleheads, Ramps, and Farro,” at the exact moment that fresh fiddlehead ferns were available in my food coop. Fresh morels, I’m afraid, were out of my reach. But I did find marvelous dried morels, which I reconstituted in boiling water and let sit for a few minutes until they puffed up beautifully. This is a fantastic salad, featuring a great textural combination.
I’m a lover of both farro and barley, so I closed my eyes and chose wonderful barley for this recipe, which I cooked in 20 minutes. Instead of ramp bulbs, I used garlic scapes, which were also dominating my food coop at the time. And I did “pickle” them, as Hank suggested. I chopped them and soaked them in red wine vinegar for an hour, so they could supply that fine “acidic” snap to the final salad. I included frozen peas and baby spinach leaves.
Once you assemble this salad, it’s fine to eat at room temperature. The fiddleheads are fantastic: green and easy to eat. The morels are spongier than other mushrooms, and add to the nice chew of the barley and the fiddleheads. The peas and scapes “pop.” Don’t be skimpy with your olive oil; make sure to drizzle it generously over your final salad. This recipe is right on and you’ll be so pleased with yourself for making it.
I also made this very handsome “Spinach, Tomato & Cheese Tart,” from mycookinghut.com. Everyone will surely eat this, if only because puff pastry looks so fun and so edible. It definitely “puffs” up when you pre-bake it, here. The recipe asks to blanch the spinach in a pot of boiling water, but I took a shortcut by heating my leaves in a bowl of water in the microwave, then squeezing them out. Easy, right?
Remember to convert your metric measurements for this recipe (if need be). I used a single sheet of puff pastry, which weighed 245g (rather than 375g). So, I made sure to adjust the other ingredients accordingly. Really, you could “eyeball” this recipe, and use common sense when you pile on your ingredients. I used smoked mozzarella, because I like its kick. Note that 200 degrees C is 392 degrees F. Enjoy!
Dried Morels (1 oz.) = $10.20
Fiddleheads (10.4 oz.) = $4.50
RECIPES: a perfect salad is one that celebrates a certain moment in a certain place, and a perfect tart is colorful and easy to grab and eat
PREP TIMES: if you take your time with the various components of the salad (“pickling” your ramps/scapes for an hour), you’ll stretch out the preparation time. But then, the salad can sit until you wait to eat it; the tart will take far less than hour to compose
TASTES: chewy barley, fiddleheads, and morels are dazzled by a coating of olive oil, while snappy peas and acidic scapes shine along; spinach, tomatoes, and cheeses are grand atop of sheet of puffed-up pastry
Again, I want to pursue a vegetarian meal. Next time, I’ll make the “Faux Fish Cakes,” (made with tofu and rice), from fatfreevegan.com, along with the “Double Broccoli Quinoa,” from 101cookbooks.com. See my calm summer meal when you come back to my site soon.