Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leeks and Spinach Tart

Before I go any further with this blogging thing, I feel that I should formally introduce all of you to an integral part of the "Confessions of a Tart" team. This behind the scenes person who keeps the talent happy is my fearless and easy on the eyes test-taster, upper-shelf-reacher, wine-pourer and emergency-fire-extinguisher husband A., who gets to bear the brunt of all my culinary successes and failures. And as what happens in the kitchen is so often synonymous for life in general, well... you get the idea; in other words, he's a trooper.

I am often amazed at how food reflects the innermost depths of a person. Someone who can seem scattered and haphazard on the surface (erm, me) can actually be very organized and all Poirot-order-and-method-and-little-grey-cells underneath all the confusion. Before I cook, I measure my ingredients and set them out in little bowls on the counter. I won't go on to the next step until I've completed the previous one. If the recipe says "chill," I'll chill (and then realize that it probably referred to the dough and not to myself or to my glass of white wine... *sigh* I blame it on the language barrier). A., however, is completely the opposite. At first glance, he looks like a guy who would dot all the i's and cross all the t's. Oy. No, no no no. His process is what is often described as "creative" (that's the diplomatic way of putting it, and since I'm not known for diplomacy, I just call it pandemonium). Which means, in practice, that when I get home and he's cooked something, I can usually tell by the way my kitchen looks like a hurricane swept through it, leaving a trail of chaos and destruction in its wake. The end result is always great (how he manages to turn it out, I don't know), but the method leaves me wishing we'd just ordered out (hey, I'm the one who gets to clean it all up!).

Whatever your own approach to cooking is, though, I am sure you will love the ease of preparation and the sheer yumminess of this Leek and Spinach Tart. It should be no surprise that both A. and I could eat it once a week and be very happy (after all, this is, ehem, confessions of a tart...). The recipe was originally from the Smitten Kitchen and involved Swiss Chard (which, in my complete ignorance, I thought at first was cheese... yeah, laugh it up, people). But because I had some spinach singing a little inviting operetta in my refrigerator, I decided to give it the starring role this time. And boy, did it deliver.

Leek and Spinach Tart
(My adaptation of it)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (or your basic pate brisee for an 11" tart)
2 tbsp butter
3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), sliced
1 tsp dried thyme

2 cups of spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Roll out the pastry on a floured work surfac to a 12" square. Transfer to a tart pan or a 9" glass pie dish (this is what I used). Fold overhang under and crimp edges. Chill until ready to use.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and sautee, stirring often, until leeks are very tender but haven't begun to brown yet (7-10 min). Add spinach and saute for a couple of minutes until it's wilted. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425F. In a large bowl, whisk milk, eggs, yolks, salt and pepper. Mix in the cooled leeks and spinach. Pour filling into the crust.

Bake for 15 min on 425F. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 10-15 min longer until filling is puffed and completely set in the center. I find that it's best at room temperature with a little bit of grated cheese on top (Gruyere, I'm looking at you).

I wish I could tell you that there were leftovers for lunch today. But no, there were not. In fact, seeing the empty dish, A. told me laughingly that I should post the picture of the "remnants of old glory." So here it is. The evidence speaks for itself. :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Irene, I just found your website and I love your photos. I can sympathize with your husband. I'm not a very orderly cook either. Anyway, thanks for sharing your photos and you stories!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Hi Irene! Thank you for leaving such a nice comment on my blog today. I had to come and check you out too and I see you just started with your blog too. I started in January and have become addicted to it quickly.
You have beautiful photos, very clean and that leek tart looks so good! Seriously! I will keep coming back!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

Oh yes, and I added you to my favorite blog list!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, all gone and you didn't save any for us? :)
It looked delicious and leeks and spinach are such a perfect combinations. I made a leek and spinach soup one time because I ran out of eggs for a tart, and it turned out pretty good ! Believe it or not, I like to eat my savory tarts with hot rice!

Irene said...

Daisy - thanks! Yeah, he's a menace in the kitchen :)

Aran - I know what you mean, it *is* very addictive!

White on rice - mmmm spinach and leek soup... that sounds awesome (and also, really funny that you ran out of eggs, lol). Love the name of your blog and the picture of the two of you - so cute!

PG said...

Looks really good! I have a sheet of puff pastry in my freezer. I may have to put it to use for this recipe. Nice to find you!

Anonymous said...

just wanted to say thank you for a very simple and stunningly delicious recipe its hard to find simple basic good cooking recipes thank you again xxx