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
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.