Leeks. Asiago. Puff pastry. (Sigh). Lately I've had an itch to bake, and I must say that I enjoy savory baked goods equally as much as sweet ones. If presented with the choice of a warm, fresh scone (of any kind) and a quiche or savory tart (of any kind)...I might just die of indecision. Really. After a few moments I might break a sweat, panic, wonder what in the world I'm going to do, fear regretting my decision, and then spend the rest of the day wondering if I ought to have chosen the other one. But I digress....
There was no indecision here. The leeks at the market spoke to me, and I knew what I had to do: buy puff pastry! I had never worked with it before, and am excited to make my own someday. However, this recipe called for pre-made so I swallowed my pride and headed to the terrible and dreaded land of frozen foods. Until I get a little more familiar with this pastry dough business, I have accepted it and am thinking of it as an interim surrendering of sorts.
The tart was fantastic. In lieu of Parmesan, I substituted Asiago and omitted the olives and brie from the original recipe. This is a great way to celebrate that underutilized allium - the leek!
2-3 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 box (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese
Cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces; halve each piece lengthwise, then cut into 3/8-inch-thick strips Rinse well, and drain; set aside.
Melt butter with oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in thyme. Leeks can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before assembling tart.
Cut or roll out pastry to a 6-by-14-inch rectangle; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (reserve remaining pastry for another use). Score a 3/4-inch border. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with Asiago. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake pastry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and press center area with a metal spatula. Arrange leeks end to end in rows within border of pastry. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. If bottom is soft, bake 3 to 5 minutes more.
Remove tart from oven and using an offset spatula, slide tart onto a wire rack; let cool slightly. Cut into pieces; serve warm or at room temperature (tart can stand at room temperature up to 1 hour).
Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Adapted from Marta Stewart Living, April 2007.