YESTERDAY, I grabbed a few leeks from my Kitchen Garden, and turned them into a Rustic Bacon and Leek Tart. The thinly-sliced leeks and crisp, crumbled bacon are nestled on a bed of ricotta cheese, and encased in tender, flaky, Pate Brisee. The recipe for this sexy (and seasonal!) sumptuousness:
True confession: When I climb out of bed in the morning, I look exactly like a freshly-dug-up leek.
Need a little guidance for cleaning a leek? You’ll find it in my recipe for braised leeks.
To start, make the Pate Brisee dough. The easy recipe for this fabulous French pastry is described in detail here. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. And if you’d like to make the dough well in advance, just keep it cold. Refrigerated, Pate Brisee will keep for up to 3 days. Frozen, it will keep for up to one month (if not one year).
No picture of this next step, because I foolishly forgot to take one: Pour off most of the bacon fat, and replace it with a tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Note: You can play around with the seasonings here. For instance, if you have fresh rosemary on hand, you could add one tablespoon of the chopped leaves to the leeks.
No rimless baking sheet for you? Use a regular baking sheet, turned upside down.
Let the dough chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile…prepare the cheese base.
If you wish, you can glaze the crust with an egg-wash (one whole egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of cold water). Just be careful not to slop the egg onto the baking sheet. Why? Because the egg will work its way under the crust, and make it impossible to slide the tart onto a board or platter.
Baking – about 20 minutes at 400°F. Set the oven rack at the lower-middle position, and bake the tart until the crust turns golden-brown — about 20 minutes.
Then pour yourself a flute of hideously-expensive French champagne, or a goblet of a sensibly-priced, but very high-quality Sauvignon blanc…
Folks, I ate half of this tart when it was hot from the oven. The other half I consumed the next morning, after it had been refrigerated over night. And guess what? This baby is profoundly-delicious even when cold!
Promise me you’ll make this sexy seasonal sumptuousness some day.
Need a printer-friendly, copy-and-paste version of the above deliciousness? Your wish is my command:
Rustic Leek and Bacon Tart
Kevin Lee Jacobs/A Garden for the House.com
Ingredients for one 10-inch tart, serving 4
Pate Brisee dough, thoroughly chilled (recipe here)
5 strips of bacon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2-3 medium medium leeks, thinly sliced (enough for 3-4 cups)
Seasonings – salt, freshly ground pepper, thyme leaves (fresh or dried) and/or rosemary
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 generous tablespoon dry French vermouth
1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese, plus a little more for sprinkling over the tart
In a large, heavy skillet set over a medium flame, fry the bacon until crisp but not burnt; drain on paper towels.
Remove most of the bacon fat from the skillet, and replace it with the butter.
After the butter melts, toss the sliced leeks into the skillet. Add the vermouth and the seasonings — a big pinch of salt, several grinds of black pepper, and a big pinch (about half of a tablespoon) of thyme and/or rosemary.
Toss the leek mixture with a spatula, and then cover the skillet, lower the heat, and let the leeks sweat until soft and delicious — about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Set the oven rack at the lower third position; preheat oven to 400°F.
Meanwhile, on a lightly-floured surface, roll the Pate Brisee into a 12-inch diameter circle. Transfer the circle to a lightly-greased, rimless baking sheet (or a rimmed sheet turned upside down). Refrigerate both sheet and dough for several minutes, just to firm up the butter.
In a medium bowl, mix together the Ricotta and Parmesan (or Asiago) cheese and a big pinch thyme and/or rosemary.
Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the pastry, leaving a 2 inch border all around. Top the cheese the leeks, and then crumble the bacon on top.
Bake until the crust turns golden brown — about 20-25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
Slide the tart onto a platter, a round cake-stand, or a wooden board. Dust the top of the tart with a small handful of freshly-grated or shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese.
Serve hot, at room temperature, or even cold, with copious goblets of champagne or Sauvignon blanc. A lightly-dressed green salad is the perfect accompaniment.
Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly email updates!