Monday, February 18, 2013

Romanesco cauliflower and caramelized leek tart

Tarts are such a great thing to eat in winter - cheesy and warm with a salad is my perfect winter lunch. And if you want to spoil yourself some warm pie with a drizzle of fresh cream is a bonus.
This tart uses a healthy olive oil dough and roasted Romanesco cauliflower for the filling - this year there has been plenty available all through  fall and even into winter. They are slightly sweeter than regular cauliflowers and are more subtle. I combine sauteed leeks and roasted Romanesco cauliflower with some grated cheese and fill the tart shell. There is no egg, milk or cream in the filling like most savory tarts. Once baked the cheese melts and envelops the vegetables and forms a lovely brown crust. Absolutely delicious!

Romanesco cauliflower and caramelized leeks 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.

Romanesco cauliflower


Filling
One medium sized Romanesco cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1 large leek - white parts and light green parts only (yield 1 cup cooked), thinly sliced
1 large clove of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of grated cheese - best to use a mild melting cheese so it does not overpower the cauliflower

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 F. 
  2. In the meantime, separate the florets and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Toss them with 1½ tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes. The cauliflower should be cooked and should have little brown tips when they are done.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil and add the sliced leeks and minced garlic. Sauté over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes till the leeks are soft. Remove from the heat and mix with the cauliflower. Mix in the grated cheese when you are ready to fill the tart shell.

Assembling the tart
1. Add the filling into the tart shell and spread evenly. 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.

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