I always have a mental idea what to make, though it’s usually not concrete till I get to the grocery store and see what options I have. This week it was pretty easy, I knew I wanted something handheld and crispy and a tart seemed like a good choice. As most of my recipe searching goes, I Google recipe ideas and keep clicking till I find something that hinges between simple and interesting. This tart seemed only a natural pairing and the best part, it calls for only a handful of ingredients and is easily customized to whatever you like.
I cooked down the leeks with bacon, infusing the green and white ribbons with salty meat, layered it over puff pastry, sprinkled it with cheese and added more bacon so that it would crisp and curl in the oven. I’d add fresh thyme if I had any on hand too. My oh my, was it deliiiicious.
This past weekend, Milos, a good friend of mine from Montreal was visiting and what better way to welcome someone than with a lovely dinner? I made a different version of this tart using caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and cherry tomatoes, serving it with roasted zucchini and mustard salmon. Everything disappeared quickly, a testament to how tasty it was, even though the tomatoes made the tart soggy. Next time I’d roast them first, releasing their juices before adding them to the tart. My mom preferred the leek and bacon version, but continued to tear off just the edges of the tomato tart despite my encouragement to take the whole slice.
Milos was eager to recreate the tomato-based tart with his girlfriend back home, and asked what other ingredients he could use. I haven’t tried it before, but I’d suggest spreading the pastry with pesto, sundried tomato paste, tapenade, or goat cheese, and topping it with sautéed vegetables (as long as they’re not too soggy) would be equally wonderful. If you find someone who dislikes crispy, cheesy, vegetable-y eat-with-your-hands food, let me know and I’ll gladly have their portion.
Leek and Bacon Tart
Adapted from BBC Good Food
3 medium leeks, green parts cut and removed, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 slices of bacon, snipped into 1 to 1½ inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
1 pack of puff pastry, thawed to room temperature
About 1½ cup grated Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F and set rack in the centre of the oven. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-heat. Add the leeks, garlic, salt, and ¾ of the bacon. Gently cook until the leeks are soft and glossy. Set aside.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Evenly spread the grated cheese over the pastry, leaving ¾ to 1 inch border along the edges. Cover with cooked leeks. Evenly scatter the remainder of bacon on top.
Crimp and fold the edges over to create a border (don't worry about it being perfect). Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and the bacon on top is crispy and cooked through.