- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 cups finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 25 cookies ground in processor)
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced crystallized ginger
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons seedless blackberry jelly
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Flowers from 2 sprigs lavender (or 1 tablespoon dried lavender)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 lb blackberries (about 2 cups)
Day 2: Make the crust. Heat the oven to 350°F. in a medium bowl, mix the cookie crumbs, sugar, and ginger until blended. Stir in the melted butter, blending until the mixture is evenly moistened. Transfer crumb mixture to a9-inch springform pan; press the crumbs firmly and evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake until crust is firm and slightly darker in color, about 8 minutes. Let the crust cool completely.
Make the lemon crème fraîche. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the whipping cream, crème fraîche, sugar, and lemon zest in large bowl until stiff peaks form.
Spoon half of the lemon curd and half of the lemon crème fraîche into a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold curd and lemon crème fraîche together, just to create a marble effect. Spoon the mixture into cooled crust. Repeat with remaining curd and crème fraîche mixture. Using tip of a table knife or a teaspoon, swirl and pull mixture upwards in peaks. Refrigerate the tart for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
- Fresh morels are one of the many, MANY wonderful things about the farmer's market in May. You can also find them dried all year-round, so if you are craving this in October (and who could blame you?), use 1 ounce dried morels in place of the fresh. Soak them in very hot water for about 20 minutes to re-hydrate them. Drain them, rinse them, and proceed as below.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, trimmed, washed well, and patted dry (see below)
- 1 cup mushroom or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 slices brioche, each cut into 2 triangles and toasted
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter, letting it cook until the foam subsides. Add the thyme and morels, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden and slightly crisp, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the remaining butter and the shallots. Sauté until the shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes, then pour in the broth. Raise the heat to high and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
For a fancy presentation, place 1 toast triangle on each of 4 plates. Top with a few tablespoons of the morel mixture. Place a second triangle at a different angle on top and spoon over the rest of the mushroom mixture. Dollop each serving with creme fraiche. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
Washing morels: The trick to washing vegetables like morels or leeks is to lift them out of the water instead of pouring the whole thing through a strainer. (When you do that, you just pour any sand or grit back over them, which kind of defeats the purpose!) Fill a large bowl with cold water, add the vegetables, and swish them around. Lift them out of the water and transfer to a strainer. Repeat with fresh water a couple of times.
In a large heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the garlic and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fiddleheads and squash, and broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer; cover and simmer for 1 minute. Add the peas, ramp tops and bottoms, and mint. Cover and simmer for 1 minute, then stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, until the butter is just melted. Season the ragout with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat another large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot enough that a few drops of water sizzle and evaporate very quickly (like less than 5 seconds), add the vegetable oil and tilt the pan to even coat the surface. Season the skin side of the fish (the rounded side) and place the fillets skin-side down in the pan. Season the other side. Cook until lightly golden on the skin side, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip them and cook on the other side until cooked through but still translucent in the center, about 3 minutes more.
To make a fancy presentation, place a pile of the ragout at about 10 o'clock on each of 4 plates. Place the fish on a diagonal (with the bottom side facing about 5 o'clock), with one corner slightly resting on top of the ragout. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
To clean fiddleheads:
Soak the fiddleheads in a sink half full of cold water, lifting them out to leave the water behind and changing the water several times to remove any grit or casing particles. Drain thoroughly.