Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fiddlehead, Potato, and Ramp Pizza

I can't tell you how nice it is to go to the Greenmarket early Friday morning.  I am almost hesitant to tell you, because I don't want people to hear and it to become crowded!  Anyways, I made my rounds last Friday on a mission to get ramps, rhubarb, asparagus, and fiddlehead ferns.  I ended up with all of those and a small basil plant, eggs, and shiitake mushrooms.  In the booth where I bought the fiddleheads and ramps, some guys from The Spotted Pig (my favorite restaurant) were buying a hefty load of fiddleheads!  By the way, I am noticing a trend - if you carry herb plants with you, someone is bound to talk to you.   It happened to me with my rosemary, and it happened to with my basil on Friday.

So what are fiddlehead ferns?  They are the furled fronds of a ostrich fern, and have a flavor compared to asparagus and brussel sprouts.  After doing a little research on how to cook them, I figured out a couple things.  You have to wash them thoroughly and make sure that all the brown papery peel is removed, otherwise it causes digestion issues.  The second step is to boil them for 5 minutes.  The water will turn pretty brown, and some say to change the water and boil a second time.  I only boiled mine for 5 minutes, because I knew I was placing it on some pizza and would be baked later.  Boiling the fiddleheads helps reduce their bitterness.  To read more about fiddlehead ferns, click here.  And if you can't remember what a ramp is, click here.

Ingredients for Fiddlehead, Potato, and Ramp Pizza, makes one 10x14 inch pizza:

-1/2 recipe of Clinton St. Baking Company pizza dough, click here for the recipe.
-1 large onion, thinly sliced and caramelized, click here for instructions.
-25 fiddleheads, less if they are larger (mine were about 1.5 inches in diameter), rinsed thoroughly and all the brown papery peel removed
-3 ramps, thinly sliced up to the leafy greens, discard the greens
-1/2 Yukon Gold potato, thinly sliced using a mandoline if you have one
-Soft goat cheese, to your taste.  Shredded gruyere could be delicious here too.
-Butter for onions
-Olive oil
-Canola oil of the onions and potatoes

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the fiddleheads for 5 minutes.  Drain, and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, caramelize the onions.  Click here for instructions.  At the same time, heat a large pan with 1 tablespoon of canola oil, place potatoes slices a few at a time, and fry until just lightly golden (this happens quickly).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside until pizza assembly.

Now it is time to make the pizza.  Begin by moving your oven rack to the top position in the oven, about 5 inches from the oven's ceiling.  Place baking stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.  This makes the crispest crust.

While oven is preheating, take half (or all of it if you halved the dough recipe) of the dough and place on a well-oiled counter.  Using your hands flatten and stretch the dough into a thin rectangle.  Place dough on a piece of parchment paper.

Sprinkle the caramelized onion on the dough.  Then evenly layer the fried potato slices.  Sprinkle chopped ramps, and fiddleheads on top.  And finally add the goat cheese.  Bake for about 12 minutes, until crust is golden brown.  Slice and serve!


  1. Lovely. But toss the ramp greens? Sacrilege! Throw them in the food processor with a handful of nuts and add olive oil to make ramp pesto. Freeze it. Use it in risotto, or fold it into rice, or try it on pizza. But discard it? Never.

  2. I actually did save them and use them in some scrambled eggs, but just didn't want them on my pizza :)

  3. fantastic recipe! you have a fan, 7 years later...