Monday, April 16, 2012

Asparagus, Leek and tomato tart

Tart and butter are synonymous. Hence we rarely ever eat tarts. But this one is made with olive oil and that too very little. I discovered this recipe from The Greens restaurant in San Francisco which is famous for its vegetarian cuisine.

The dough is made with a combination of all purpose and whole wheat flour and requires very little kneading. Despite using whole wheat flour the dough is very light. I top it with a mixture of sauteed leeks and fresh asparagus covered with sliced tomatoes and sharp cheddar cheese. It makes a great main course for a light lunch paired with a green salad or a first course for dinner.

The assembled tart
The 3 inch tomato and goat cheese tart

Asparagus, Leek and Tomato tart

Tart Shell
Makes two 9 - 10 inch crusts and the trimmings make two 3 inch crusts

1 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus extra for spraying
  1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer the flour mixture to the food processor with the metal blade inserted. With the motor running,  add the olive oil, then ¾ cup water. When the dough comes together in a ball, turn off the motor. Scrape the dough out of the food processor and knead very gently on a lightly floured board just until the dough is smooth. Do not over work or the dough will be tough.
  3. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Press each ball into a disk, about 4 inches in diameter. Dust lightly with flour if the dough is sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for and hour or longer at room temperature.
  4. Sprinkle a small amount of unbleached flour over your work surface. Put the piece of dough on it, and lightly dust the top with more flour. Roll the dough from the center to the far edge, in one direction only, turning the dough, until it is quite thin, with a diameter of at least 12 inches. Keep dusting lightly with flour if the dough sticks.
  5. Spray a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom with olive oil. Gently fold the circle of dough in half and lift onto the pan, with the fold in the middle of the pan. Unfold the dough so that it covers the pan. Press gently into the pan. Using the rolling pin, roll over the tart pan to trim the edges. Save the trimmings to roll once again to make another 3 inch tart.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack in the preheated oven for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before adding the filling.

12 thick asparagus stalks - woody ends removed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 cups finely sliced leeks, whites only
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2.5 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
one medium sized plum tomato, thinly sliced
  1. Heat a medium skillet with olive oil and add the chopped leeks and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and the asparagus and toss well. Cook for another 8 minutes over low heat till the leeks are soft and creamy and the asparagus is cooked. Add the remaining salt if required and the freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Assembling the tart
  1. Spread the filling into the tart shell and sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the filling. Decorate with the tomato slices and bake in a 375 F oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  2. Cut into wedges and serve with a fresh green salad.
Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as lunch.

***Note: I used one dough ball and froze the second one. When using from frozen, you need to thaw out the dough at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

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