Emancipate & Resurrect the Kitchen.

This week means a lot of different things to a a lot of different people. This is the week of both Passover and Easter. And whether you are commemorating an enormous emancipation, celebrating a significant resurrection, really excited about warm weather, flowers and sunshine, or need an excuse to watch The Long Good Friday again, it's a pretty big stretch of celebration with lots of food involved.

Me, I fall into either of the latter two. But I do love a holiday. Fortunately, timing is really in my corner with this observing and reveling happening right when all of the new, beautiful food stuffs are literally popping up, out of the ground and into our markets to grab up and play with in my kitchen, to serve and share with my friends and family.

Peas, rhubarb, arugula, asparagus, strawberries, mint, Spring onions, tatsoi greens, radishes, fresh horseradish, fennel, ham and, of course, farm fresh eggs, milk and cheese, are just a few of the things I want, and crave, this time of year – holidays or no. To tell you the truth, I really wanted to make a rhubarb ice cream or a rhubarb lemon pound cake for Easter. But after talking to Paz, whose parents are hosting Easter brunch, I hear there is already an over abundance of sweets. One person in particular has apparently already dropped off five cakes for the occasion (*show off*).

So I guess I'm going savory. 

Paz has been needling me because I've never made an actual quiche before – that I can recall. I've made loads of frittatas and plenty of pies, but I guess I've never put the egg stuff into the pie crust. So I scurried off to my favorite, local green grocer and got to hunting for inspirato. And found it. I have to say, however, their eggs are quite difficult to crack open – because they are so, so beautiful. But crack I did. And what resulted was a stunning Spring dish, that would befit a brunch, lunch or dinner, to delight and impress using a lot of those different things for a lot of us different people. Especially the dude that brought five cakes.

Happy Easter!

Spring Vegetable Tart with Chévre & Ham
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit May, 2012)

Makes 1 10” tart

All-purpose flour (for surface)
1 medium bulb fennel
5 spring onions or 12 scallions
16 medium cremini mushrooms (about 1 pound)
10 ounces cubed ham
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon minced fresh chives
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F. Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface to a 12" round. Transfer to 10" tart pan with removable bottom and press onto bottom and up sides. Line the chilled crust with a piece of foil, leaving a little overhang all around. Fill with pie weights of some kind and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Bake until dry and set, 5 to 8 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Raise oven temperature to 425°F.  Trim fennel top and root end, reserving fronds, and cut into quarters from top to bottom, then cut fennel into paper-thin slices.

Trim green onions. Toss fennel and onions in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on prepared sheet; roast, turning once, until onions begin to brown and fennel is tender, 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

Meanwhile, clean and slice mushrooms. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ham. Cook, stirring often, until ham is browned and slightly crisped, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining butter in skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms and sauté until they release all their liquid and most of it boils away, about 5 minutes.
Let cool slightly before spreading ham and mushrooms evenly over bottom of tart crust.

Whisk cheese and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk in eggs. Pour over vegetables. Scatter fennel and onion over.

Bake tart until edges of crust are golden brown and filling is set, 20-22 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Remove sides of pan. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

Two years ago: The Pikey

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