These days, the sun shines warm, and while the breeze still blows chill, spring’s soft breath teases us. It dangles alluring promises as its quiet mysteries start to manifest themselves. In my garden, dogwood buds swell and the first hints of cheerful crocuses and snowdrops unfold in sunny corners. Chickadees, sparrows and finches that jostled each other all winter for seeds from our feeder now peck for worms and other treats in the muddy yard. The musical calls of returning robins encourage us to “cheer up, cheer up, cheer up”.
The ground is breathing again after what feels like ages of snowbound imprisonment. In the thawing ground, muddy footprints betray my path through the garden and the fertile smell of dirt rises up, tickling my nose. I gingerly step around piles of slippery wet leaves. Seeing clumps of rich, dark earth spurs dreams of planting.
In hopeful anticipation, I have started germinating seeds for the heirloom peppers that my Italian grandfather brought to the United States. It’s a process that requires patience, peering each day at the seeds positioned between moistened paper towels on my sunny windowsill, waiting for their tiny white tails to emerge. When that happens, they will be ready for planting in their dirt-filled cups, seedlings will eventually appear and the vegetable season will begin afresh.
Not yet though. It will be some time before the yet-to-be-planted vegetable garden yields its harvest, but I am so tired of roasted, braised and baked dishes. I want fresh, simple food, preferably green.
So, at the market I rejoice at the reappearance of spring’s first harbingers - ramps, asparagus, spinach and lettuces. My head swims with ideas for soups, tarts and salads. Torn between so many tantalizing options, I freeze, unable to choose. Finally I elect to pay homage to ramps, whosedeep earthy flavors combine the best of the onion family – the peppery bite of garlic, the pungent scent of onions, the sweetness of leeks, the smooth flavors of shallots. Prepared in a tart, they contribute a refreshingly delicate flavor.
Soon enough we will see lacy little pea shoot tendrils winding their way up their wooden trellis. But for now, my little pepper seedlings and dishes like this tart confirm that at long last spring is here.
In celebration of spring I am joining friends at the Sunday Supper Movement in posting recipes that inspire Spring. Enjoy!
Rustic “Wrapped” Tart with Ramps
With a growing season only a month long ramps are an ephemeral spring treat. They are not commercially grown and are harvested only in regional forests. So be on the lookout while these wonderful alliums are making their appearance.
Single Crust recipe of your favorite tart dough
½ cup baby spinach
8 spring onions
1 cup peas
1 bunch ramps
4 Tbs butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
4 oz goat cheese
Chopped herbs to taste, salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the tart dough till about ¼ inch thick. Place on a sheet tray, crimping up the edges to form a border. Top with aluminum foil weighted down with dry beans. Bake 15 minutes.
While the pastry is baking, cook the peas till just soft, 2-3 minutes. Chop the whites of the spring onions and ramps and sauté in butter. Let the vegetables cool. Tear the spinach and green leaves of the ramps into large pieces.
Stir together the cream, cheese and egg yolk, adding the peas, sautéed onions and ramps.
Lay the spinach and ramp pieces on the puff pastry and top with the cream mixture. Top with chunks of the goat cheese. Add the chopped herbs, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Here are the inspiring recipes from Sunday Supper friends:
- Chicken Sausage, Apple and Cheddar Breakfast Bake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
- Chive and Cheese Quiche by An Appealing Plan
- Lavender Scones by Feeding Big and More
- Lemon Raspberry Baked Donuts by Grumpy's Honeybunch
- Matcha Donuts by The Ninja Baker
- Whole Wheat Lemon Berry Coffee Cake with Lemon Glaze by A Mindful Mom
- Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella Salad by Casa de Crews
- Artichoke Lemon Hummus by Food Done Light
- Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart by Baking Sense
- Butter Lettuce and Spring Radish Salad by Hardly A Goddess
- Ceviche with Potato and Pea Shoot Salad by Caroline's Cooking
- Roasted Strawberry Popsicles by Brunch-n-Bites
- Rustic Wrapped Tart with Ramps by Delaware Girl Eats
- An Unconventional Mojito by Monica's Table
- Caribbean Cream Cocktail by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Lavender Lemon Cocktail by The Crumby Cupcake
- Limoncello Raspberry Sangria by Eat, Drink and Be Tracy
- Spiced Rhubarb Champange Cocktail by Hezzi-D Books and Cooks
- Vanilla Lavender Limeade by The Tip Toe Fairy
- Very Berry Springtime Spritzer by Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Violet Hour by Wholistic Woman
- Cheese Ravioli with Morel Cream Sauce by Palatable Pastime
- Cheese Tortellini with Herbed Ricotta and Fava Beans by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Chopped Shrimp Salad with Lemon-Shallot Dressing by The Weekend Gourmet
- Gnocchi Primavera with Spring Asparagus and Peas by La Bella Vita Cucina
- Grilled Pork Chops with a Dijon Balsamic Herb Glaze by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Lebanese Fattoush Salad by Curious Cuisiniere
- One Pan Spicy Lemon Chicken with Tomatoes by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Orecchiette with Peas, Pecorino and Onions by Cooking Chat
- Pasta with Peas by Manu's Menu
- Pesto Shrimp and Zoodles Oh My! by My Imperfect Kitchen
- Ramp and Mushroom Frittata by Pies and Plots
- Sesame Ginger Seared Ahi Coconut Tacos by Simply Healthy Family
- Spring Lamb Skewers with Roasted Baby Carrots by Food Lust People Love
- Spring Salad with Scallops and Strawberry Vinaigrette by My World Simplified
- Veggie Pasta Primavera by Momma’s Meals
- Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Rhubarb Salad by The Texan New Yorker
- Green Peas with Onion and Bacon by Magnolia Days
- Minty Pea Farro Spring Salad by She Loves Biscotti
- Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf by Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Amazing Coconut Cake by A Baking Legacy
- Caramelized Black Figs and Walnuts with Mascarpone by Un Assaggio of Food, Wine & Marriage
- Carrot Cookies by What Smells So Good?
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cookies by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
- Colorado Crème by Cooking on the Ranch
- Honey Blossoms by Get the Good Stuff!
- Hot Milk Sponge Cake by Hey What’s for Dinner Mom?
- Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake by Angels Sweet Homestead
- Lemon Scented Choux with Rhubarb Ginger Pastry Cream by The Finer Cookie
- Meyer Lemon Bars by The Chef Next Door
- No-Bake Berry Greek Yogurt Pie by An Italian in my Kitchen
- Rhubarb Meringue Pie by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Spring Cookie Bouquet by The Freshman Cook
- Strawberry Cheesecake Puffs by Moore or Less Cooking
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake by Sweet Mornings
- Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream by Tramplingrose
- Strawberry Moscato Sorbet by Seduction in the Kitchen
- The Black Beast by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
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