Vegetable tart; pear salad – 24 December 2011

This was a delicious tart, especially the crust, which was exceptional.

The filling was incredibly time-consuming, but a different filling would work and be less demanding. The recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated, Jan/Feb 2012. The filling is mainly leeks, sauteed and drained, and shiitake mushrooms, microwaved (!) and drained. No liquid came off the mushrooms, but 5 minutes in the microwave (in a big bowl, covered by a plate) reduced their volume by more than half, I’d say. The other essential ingredient was gorgonzola. I got “mountain gorgonzola” at the Cheese Board, and it seemed like the right flavor. I think pea sized granules of it would be preferable to the smaller-than-a-marble version I used, b/c you could spread the flavor around more. The guys are not fans of shiitake flavor, and thought crimini would be better mushrooms for this tart. Should work. We also discussed potatoes and bacon and gruyere as an option. The secret of the filling is first to eliminate moisture so the crust does not get damp and soggy, and second to bind the filling with something strongish flavored, in this case dijon and mascarpone.

The secret of the flaky and delicious crust was to use part whole wheat flour (that’s the delicious part) and to refrigerate, roll/fold-in-thirds/roll/fold-in-thirds/roll/fold-in-sixths, refrigerate, roll to a circle technique (flakiness, obviously!). Fortunately, R was over to help decorate the tree, and lent a hand with the mushrooms and other stuff so we did not end up eating at midnight.

D made a pear salad to go with this, which was, or course, excellent! The three of us ended up eating the entire tart for dinner. I think it would easily have served four if we had added a veggie or had a really huge salad or something.

We had bought a 2010 Domaine Serge LaLoue Sancerre at Solano Cellars on sale for $18, and opened it for “cooking wine” before dinner. We didn’t drink it all then, but left most to try with the tart. D also chose a 2009 Ventoux, Chateau Saint-Sauveur, for this dinner, and I think everybody thought both went pretty well with the meal.

{Written the 27th}


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