how to make: leek & potato tart

Last week, I bought some leeks.  I thought perhaps I’d make some soup, but it was in the mid-to-high 90s every day.  With vegetarians coming over to dinner and red potatoes languishing in my pantry, I was once again inspired by France.

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Leeks are delicious members of the onion family, though they are also famous for catching and keeping dirt.  Once chopped, one or more water baths with much swooshing is necessary to release the grit trapped in between the many layers.

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Heat a tablespoon each of olive oil & butter in a skillet at medium heat, add 2 chopped and cleaned leeks, and cook till soft–about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the leeks cook, slice 8 ounces small potatoes.

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I believe that good is not the enemy of perfect (or I try to live as if I believe this), and so I keep pie crusts from Trader Joe’s in my freezer.  De-frost, press into a tart pan (or pie dish, or even a 9-inch round cake pan), lay down a layer of foil or parchment, and pour some rice, dried beans, or fancy pie weights into the middle of the crust (to keep it from putting on airs and getting all bubbly while it bakes).

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

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Remove the rice/beans/weights, and let the tart crust cool slightly.

Add potatoes to the leeks in the skillet, along with about 2/3 cup liquid–some cream, some wine, some broth–whatever is on hand and sounds desirable.  Season with salt and pepper, and some thyme or parsley or sage or rosemary–anything that seems Frenchy and that happens to be fresh.  For me, today, it was thyme.  I even threw a few sprigs on top of the tart for good measure.

Add the potato-leek mixture to the tart crust and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with cheese if desired (I meant to, and forgot).  Bake for 35-45 minutes at 375 degrees.

Because of the temperature outside, I served this room temperature–you can also serve it warm.  With a little vinaigrette & some greens, it’s a perfect lunch or dinner.

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