This is my absolute favorite thing to bring to a party or put out before a dinner. It’s simple to make up ahead of time and so delicious that no one can resist it. If you’re someone who has never had a leek, this dish will convert you to an instant fan – I’m sure of it. The recipe is adapted from Alice Waters’ Vegetables. Serve warm or room temperature.
Tart dough, makes enough for one large, free-form tart or two 10-inch tarts:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
10 tbls. butter
1/3 c. ice water
- Fill a measuring cup to 1/3 with water and add ice cubes. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients.
- Cut in butter with a pastry blender. (I highly recommend that you get one of these, if you don’t have one. I lived for so long without one and now realize how faster everything becomes with one. You can use a butter knife to cut small pieces and then squish with your fingers. It’s therapeutic, but not necessarily efficient.)
- Fork in water.
- Use hands to bring the dough together into a ball.
large bunch of small leeks, or about 3 big ones
1 tbls. butter
about 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbls. flour
optional finish: cream, kosher salt
- Wash leeks and trim. Start by chopping off the root end and the tough green top. There are a couple of ways to get your leeks clean and free from dirt. Chop them entirely and then rinse them in a a bowl of water. Sometimes, I will rinse the whole leek and then keep a damp washcloth on my cutting board. As I chop, I will wipe the newly exposed part with a cloth to remove dirt.
- Saute chopped leeks and butter over medium for about ten minutes. (You want to remove them from the heat before they turn brown. They should look somewhat translucent.) Salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in thyme and flour. Set aside to cool.
Assembling the tart:
- Roll your dough out onto floured parchment paper. If you’re making a free-form tart, roll it to about two inches larger than the size that you would like or, if using a pan, to about two inches larger than the pan.
- Transfer the dough and parchment to a baking sheet (or pan). Add cooled leeks and spread evenly. Fold over the edges of the dough.
- Brush with cream and sprinkle the edges with kosher salt.
- Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes.
- For a party tart, roll out a long oval. When finished, slice across the tart and then in half. This will make little sliver pieces that are easy for people to grab and eat.
- You can adapt this recipe for almost any vegetable you like. Precook the vegetable and arrange prettily. If using something very wet, like a tomato, you might sprinkle a little cheese in the shell first.
- Great with the simple addition of garlic scapes. Add to leeks for the last minute of cooking.