Fiddlehead Ferns with Potatoes and Soft Cheese

Fiddlehead Ferns with Potatoes and Soft Cheese

Serves 8 for cocktail-style appetizers

24 baguette slices about 1/2-inch thick, toasted or untoasted as you prefer

24 fiddlehead ferns — they should have a nice, tight spiral and be about 1-1/2 inches in diameter — thoroughly cleaned and trimmed

3 medium to large Yukon Gold potatoes, around 2 inches wide (you’ll need to get 8 good slices from each one)

1/2 cup soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup fromage blanc or Greek-style yogurt, at room temperature

Salt and freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

Bring at least 4 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the fiddleheads, and start timing once the water comes back to the boil. The fiddleheads need to cook for 7 to 8 minutes. They should be just tender but not mushy. Drain them, then put in ice water for a minute to chill. Spread them out on a towel to dry.  (You can do these an hour or two ahead.)

In the meantime, put the potatoes in a pot with a little salt, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 30 to 35 minutes, until you can pierce them easily with a sharp knife. Drain and let them cool enough to handle, then cut the potatoes crosswise into thin slices. You should be able to get at least 8 slices from each potato.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the goat cheese and fromage blanc. Mash and beat them together with a fork until well-combined and a little fluffy. Stir in some pepper.

Just before serving, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the fiddleheads with some salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes to warm them through.

To assemble, spread a teaspoon of the cheese mixture on each baguette slice. Place a slice of potato on top of the cheese. Then top the potato with a dollop of about a half-teaspoon of the cheese, and lightly press a sauteed fiddlehead into the cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

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