Take a stroll through a bustling farmers market this time of year and you’ll find displays of bronze and purple onions, red-skinned garlic, alongside shallots and flat topped cippolini onions and plump white leeks.
Food and Garden writer, Ellen Ecker Ogden recommends making savory tarts, this time of year. More of her recipes can be found at ellenogden.com. Here is one of her favorite seasonal recipes that makes a nice side dish or main course.
Caramelized Leek Tart
Makes one 8- inch tart
Leeks can be used in soups, or braise with a little cream for a side dish. My favorite way to enjoy leeks is with this caramelized tart.
Slow cooking brings out every drop of sweetness in leeks, which is balanced here by the balsamic vinegar. Serve this as a side dish or light dinner with a salad.
2 large leeks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2-teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Marsala sherry wine or balsamic vinegar
1 large egg
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 prepared pie crust* see below for my recipe
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Trim the root end of the leeks, and the leaves just above the white stalk. Slice lengthwise and rinse under running water to remove any soil trapped in between the layers. Shake and pat dry.
In a large skillet, melt the oil and butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt, and pepper; reduce the heat to low and sauté, stirring frequently, until the leeks are deeply browned and have a sticky texture, about 30 minutes. Stir in the Marsala sherry wine or vinegar, and gently cook for another 2 minutes to reduce liquid. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Preheat to 400°F.
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg with the ricotta and rosemary. Sprinkle the base of the pie shell with cheddar cheese, then pour in the ricotta, spreading the mixture evenly in the pastry shell. Distribute the caramelized leeks on top and dust the top with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.
1 cup unbleached white flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup low fat plain yogurt or sour cream
In a food processor fitted with a steel cutting blade, blend the all-purpose and the whole-wheat flour, and salt. With the food processor running, add one piece of butter at a time to the flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-sized pieces. Turn off the machine and add the yogurt. Pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a lightly buttered 9-inch pie tart pan.