Goat Cheese and Leek Tart
This recipe is a featured recipe from the book P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden.
My first taste of fresh homegrown leeks was during my first year in college. We were studying the classification of plants and my biology professor, Dr. Clark, brought in an armload of these gorgeous vegetables to illustrate a member of the Allium genus. It was around mid-October, and I was surprised at how many leeks he still had in his garden. Later, I began growing my own supply of the delectable beauties. Once I discovered their mild, delicate flavor, I haven't been able to let a season pass without planting a few rows. Tender sweet leeks and tangy goat cheese are delicious partners in this rich savory tart. It's easy to prepare, and delicious as a brunch dish. Add a cup of soup and a salad for a great supper, or cut the tart into thin slices for a delightful appetizer.
- Dough for 1 pie crust
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 pounds leeks (about 2 medium leeks)
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- ½ cup snipped fresh chives (½-inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- Place a baking sheet on the center shelf of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.Very lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-diameter tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out the dough and press it lightly but firmly over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, being careful not to stretch it. Trim the edges, and then press the dough up about ¼ inch above the rim of the pan all around. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. Brush some of the beaten egg over the dough.
- Place the pan on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Check halfway through the cooking time to make sure that the pastry isn't rising up in the center. If it is, just prick it a couple of times and gently press it back down with the back of a fork. When the crust is done, remove the tart pan but leave the oven on.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the filling: Cut off the tough green tops of the leeks, leaving 2 to 3 inches of the tender green portion. Then make a vertical split down the center of each leek, and wash the leeks thoroughly to remove any sand or grit. Cut the leeks into ¼-inch-thick slices.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat, and add the leeks, artichoke hearts, chives, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook gently, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the goat cheese, yogurt, and remaining beaten eggs. Add the leek mixture and blend well. Pour the mixture into the baked tart crust, and return it to the oven. Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it's firm in the center and the surface has turned a nice golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving (this makes it easier to cut into portions).
- The best way to remove the tart from the tart pan is to ease the edge from the side of the pan with a small knife, and then place the pan on an upturned jar or a large can, which will allow you to carefully ease the ring away from the tart. Next, slide a long, thin knife between the pan base and the tart, and ease the tart onto a flat plate or board (or you can cut the tart into serving portions straight from the pan's base). Serve warm.