Fiddleheads and Quiche
I am happy to report the fiddlehead quiche was a complete success! Based on the theory of “time before total disappearance” that exists in my house, it scored a 10 (minutes).
This year I decided I would bite the bullet and try some fiddleheads. We don’t get them in Britain so the first time I saw them was six years ago when I emigrated to Canada. To me, they look like the bracken plants of my childhood, which are toxic and therefore to be avoided. I have no reasoning behind this, but I always assumed fiddleheads would be bitter. But Jackie Durnford at the 100 Mile store in Creemore assured me they were really mild, “a little bit like asparagus,” she said. Jackie also told me they could be very soggy when cooked.
My son has a market stall at the Creemore Farmers’ Market where he sells savoury baked goods. He makes an asparagus, pea and mint quiche that is delicious. Going by Jackie’s asparagus comparison, surely fiddleheads would work equally well? I set to making a tester quiche. If the fiddleheads were mild then they would need a bit of a kick to give flavour, so I decided to get some old cheddar to add into the filling. To guard against sogginess, I didn’t cook the fiddleheads at all, just rinsed and thoroughly dried them. I am happy to report the quiche was a complete success! Based on the theory of “time before total disappearance” that exists in my house, it scored a 10 (minutes).
Although of course fiddleheads are now sadly over for the season, I thought it worthwhile to give you the quiche recipe. It’s simple and can be adapted to any filling that works in a creamy egg base. Just make the egg and cream filling, pour into the base and add your choice of additions. Some asparagus, pea and mint, some chopped cooked bacon, cooked sliced mushrooms, any greens (wild leeks, nettles, green garlic) and cheese (about 50g to 75g of cheese per quiche if adding with another ingredient, slightly more if on it’s own. Blue cheese or goat’s cheese are a good choices.
If you are gluten intolerant, I suggest you forgo the pastry. Grease your pie plate – or even better use a silicon one. Make the filling up as below, bake for 20 minutes at 350 F, and enjoy a kind of set omelette!
Fiddlehead (or Anything) Quiche
(apologies for the grams – British girl!)
- 280g all-purpose flour
- 140g cold butter
- Cold water
- 2 large eggs
- 280ml cream
- (Additions: asparagus, wild leeks, nettles, fiddleheads, garlic scapes, bacon, ham, your favourite cheese, etc.)
- Put into a food processor and blast until the butter is totally mixed in. No large lumps should be visible. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it looks like rough breadcrumbs.
- Add a tiny bit of cold water, a little at a time, mixing it into the flour and butter until the mixture comes together into dough. I do this with my hands as it’s easier to tell if it is getting too sticky that way.
- You can let it cool in the fridge if you wish, I have to admit I don’t bother, but if it is sticky then 20 minutes in the fridge will help.* Roll out bigger than your chosen pan then place in gently, pushing it down all around. Put a sheet of baking parchment over it and pour ceramic beans (or dried peas/ beans if you don’t have those) over the parchment to weigh it down and stop the pastry bubbling up. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Take the quiche shell out, remove the parchment and beans and pour in your filling.
- Mix eggs and cream together well and pour into the quiche shell, adding your chosen veg, meat and cheese.
- Bake at 350F again for around 20 minutes or until the centre is no longer liquid. It should wobble slightly like jelly.
*If you have added too much water, don’t add tons of flour. This will make the pastry tough. Add a little flour then lay down on your rolling surface a sheet of Cling wrap. Put your pastry on it and put another sheet of cling wrap on top. You can then roll out the pastry sandwiched between the sheets of wrap and your rolling pin won’t stick to it. The pastry won’t stick to your worktop either!