The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Fiddlehead Ferns, Penny de los Santos

I’ve spent the better part of this weekend completely engaged by Penny de los Santos’ amazing workshop with creativeLIVE. It reminds me of being in school – frantically jotting down bits of inspiration and wisdom, feeling motivated, engaged, challenged. And it’s made me fall in love with photography all over again, and been a powerful reminder as to why I fell in love with it in the first place: light and color, the act of slowing down to observe, the act of pausing and recording a moment.

Penny has an amazingly holistic approach; it’s so much greater in scope than getting the perfectly composed shot of food. It’s the small moments, the little details, the juicy and unscripted raw elements that compose the majority of our lives – she knows how to get right in the middle of that. And she does a damn good job of documenting it.

This has everything and nothing to do with fiddlehead ferns. My photographic focus lately has been so tightly centered on the food on the plate, on food without its cultural context. That is to say, I didn’t get any shots of Far West Fungi, where I bought the fiddleheads, or the man whom I bought them from, or the couple I chatted with about how we might prepare them. They were the ones who inspired the idea for this pizza. Thanks to all those people who inform my work, and the food that I make, and who keep me inspired.

And pretty please: Don’t go picking fiddleheads in your backyard/on your weekend hike unless you’ve got a trusted source who says they’re safe to eat. Not all types of young ferns are edible.

This Flatbread with Fiddlehead Ferns, Onion Scapes and Pecorino Recipe is part of the May Seasonal Food Guide.

FLATBREAD WITH FIDDLEHEAD FERNS, ONION SCAPES AND PECORINO
Yield: 6 slices

1 piece of 6×9″ lavash (feel free to use larger, but scale up accordingly)
10-12 small fiddleheads
1/4 cup onion scapes, chopped (can substitute leeks or caramelized onions)
1 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
1/2 lemon, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
olive oil
salt+ pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.

Clean the fiddleheads (this is important): You want to remove any of the brown, papery material casing the fiddlehead. It’s bitter and can cause gastric distress. Wash them extremely thoroughly to remove this.

Blanch the fiddleheads for five minutes in the salted water. Drain, and place in an ice bath to cool.

Meanwhile, prepeare the lavash. Place it on a baking sheet and brush it lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the lavash. Arrange the lemon slices on the flatbread, followed by the cheese. Finish with the fiddleheads and the onion scapes.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees, until the cheese is golden and bubbling and the edges of the flatbread are nicely browned. Best served immediately! Enjoy.

  • Joy - Everybody is raving about those online sessions. Too bad I was too busy at the time to watch it. Anyway the pizza looks great (the green curls looks so cute!)ReplyCancel

  • Tine - That bread looks so flat (duh!) and delicious = I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Jess - Amen sister! :) Penny de los Santos and the creative live workshop inspired me and opened my eyes. So glad I heard about it from you! Plus, your pizza with the fiddleheads is lovely. We don’t all have to tell the story the same way Penny does. We can push ourselves to find new ways to tell the story. I can’t wait to see the pictures you’ll “make”!ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - Another beautiful dish that I want to eat immediately! Thanks again for restraining me from picking fiddleheads out of bridal bouquets this summer :) I had a busy weekend and caught about an hour of Penny’s workshop on Saturday, but I purchased it and will be watching the whole thing as soon as humanly possible. Penny has such a warm and generous spirit and that mixed with her talent puts her at the top.ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - You’ve been doing so many cool things recently with the blogging meet-up and this photography workshop, you’re an inspiration! Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my scanners post – if someone as successful as you has a finger in every pie then it must be a good thing ^_^ReplyCancel

  • bianca - Penny is beyond inspiring- the way she speaks about photography and food and life, moves me beyond words!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food - I’m so sad that I missed the lecture (though I did catch quotes on Twitter). Sounds like a marvelous experience.

    I’m a huge fan of fiddleheads and am so glad you featured them here. This looks like one fantastic pizza!ReplyCancel

  • James - I missed Penny’s workshop this weekend, but it sounds like it’ll be worth purchasing the downloads.

    What you’re speaking to is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It’s not hard to find food blogs with beautiful photos of food on a plate, or on a neatly set table, but few show interactive context, or the intersection of food and people. I can’t wait to see how this comes out in your work :-)ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - I don’t doubt that you would tell a bewitching photographic story. For now I revel in your beautiful singular subject phtotgraphs.ReplyCancel

  • SmithRatliff - This looks amazing—I’ve been making pizzas with springtime veggie toppings lately, so I can’t wait to get some fiddleheads!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane - I’m guilty of the exact same thing, Kimberley. My focus is typically so tightly centered on the food that I miss telling the entire story. Per Penny’s suggestion, I’ve “self-assigned” a couple projects for myself while in Dublin/London next week hoping to (sort of) break the habit.

    I absolutely love your work (tightly focused or not) so I hope you continue to remain true to what inspires/speaks to you!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Franzen ` - beautiful lady, I have been wanting to play around with fiddelheads. Hopefully I will get my hands on them soon before they go out of season. Since the seasons seem to fly in veggie land.ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - I, too, was enthralled by Penny this weekend. I spent the better part of my weekend shooting food photos that I was really impressing myself with! Just a few of her tips helped me think about food photography in a whole different light. I am so excited about these Fiddlehead ferns! So pretty. So Spring. xx.ReplyCancel

  • Wilson - It looks absolutely scrumptious. Would love to try making it one day, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Strictly Foodie - This looks so interesting! How would you describe the flavor of a fiddlehead fern?ReplyCancel

  • Allie - Your blog is beautiful. I love the way the fiddle heads look! I just found your blog and I have added it to mine. Keep doing what you are doing!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - I just got Plate to Pixel and I can’t wait to get reinspired in the realm of photography…and learn something! The Penny de los Santos class sounded awesome!

    Oh man this pizza is gorgeous! I really hope to get some fiddleheads before they disappear from the market!

    And YES let’s date! I’ll send you an email!ReplyCancel

  • Rita - Woah!! This workshop sounds amazing. I’m going to have a look at the website you’ve mentioned. I’d love (and hubby would, too) to learn more about photography.
    P.S. The way you take pictures is always awesome!! You’re great!ReplyCancel

  • kankana - I know! Wasn’t the workshop fun and SO useful :) I love your photos and I think soon you should give us some lesson on this. This thin crust is making me feel like grabbing one right now !!!ReplyCancel

  • Simply Life - Oh this is so fun!!!ReplyCancel

  • 5 Simple Steps for Overwintering Garlic | Mike's Window - […] Flatbread with fiddleheads, scapes and pecorino […]ReplyCancel

  • Eating in Atlanta + Quality Time With a Top Chef Master | Bay Area Bites | KQED Food - […] We ordered a variety of appetizers and entrees for the table, including the Soft Poached Egg with wild nettles and grits; Crisp Pork Belly with kimchi grits; Wild Ramps with corned beef tongue and field peas served in a mini cast iron skillet; and the Ramp Orecchiette with carrots, peas and some beautiful fiddlehead ferns. […]ReplyCancel

  • Eating in Atlanta + Quality Time With a Top Chef Master « VirgoBlue - […] We ordered a variety of appetizers and entrees for the table, including the Soft Poached Egg with wild nettles and grits; Crisp Pork Belly with kimchi grits; Wild Ramps with corned beef tongue and field peas served in a mini cast iron skillet; and the Ramp Orecchiette with carrots, peas and some beautiful fiddlehead ferns. […]ReplyCancel

  • SG - I must make this! It looks like the perfect combination of taste and design.ReplyCancel

  • Marta J - Very visually powerful pizza- well done! So mouth- watering, can’t wait to try out the recipe, the idea of melted Pecorino with sweet onion and aromatic thyme is heavenly!
    I just made a fennel, zucchini and rosemary pizza with buffalo mozzarella- another fab veg, herb and cheese toping combo :)ReplyCancel

  • kelly - I just picked up some fiddleheads at the farmers market today and wanted a new way to prepare them so I’m SO excited to try this BUT umm… where do I find or make lavash? xoReplyCancel

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