A woman in her young sixties hunches over a speared shovel in the middle of a her driveway, almost out of breath. She wears a heavy overcoat, sweat pants, and snow boots.
Several inches of ice break into small chunks ready for a cocktail glass to toast the new year. Except she doesn't look to be in a salutatory kind of mood.
The axe strikes the ice and scatters more chips. She looks up to acknowledge me.
"Yeah, right, if I live through it," she says.
Arctic air blows across her face. She wraps her hands around the handle and continues breaking into the frozen past.
I think about the potato leek tart cooling on the kitchen table.
Warm goat cheese, Parmesan, purple potatoes, and leeks tossed in a parsley puree.
Maybe I'll invite her over for dinner – sharing a meal and conversation may change her mind.
p.s. What's your favorite meal or recipe to celebrate the new year . . . please feel free to share in the comments section.This recipe seems like a bit of work, however, the tart comes together easily if you do the following steps a day or two (or even more since you can freeze the unbaked tart shell and the parsley puree and move it to the refrigerator the night before you want to make the tart) before you want to serve it. One, make the savory tart shell; two, prepare the parsley puree; three, have precooked potatoes ready. I've arranged the recipe parts in the order I like to make them. Potato Leek Tart with Goat Cheese and Parsley Puree (printable recipe)
Savory Tart Shell
Yield 1 (9-inch) tart
1 1/4 cups white spelt flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small chunks
up to 1/4 cup ice water (as needed)
Blend the flour and salt in a mixer with a paddle attachment or in a food processor, then add the butter just until the the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough water for the dough to come together, then shape it into a disk and wrap with plastic. Chill the dough for 15 minutes.
Roll the dough into a 10-inch circle and place it on top of a 9-inch tart pan with removable rim. Shape the dough into the edges, the dough should stand about 1/4 inch above the rim and is about 1/4 inch thick. Prick the bottom with a fork 6 times, then freeze for 20 minutes.
While the tart dough rests in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425 F. Save left over dough to patch the tart shell.
Place the frozen tart shell on a baking tray and bake until it's light in color, about 25 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and deflate any swollen pockets of dough with a prick from the tip of a knife. Remove the tart from the oven when ready, mend any holes by gently pressing in small pieces of left over dough. Cool on a wire rack and set aside.
Yield about 1 cup
2 cups parsley leaves (thin stems are okay), rinsed and dried
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Set aside.Potato Leek Tart
Yield 6 to 8 servings
1 (9-inch) prebaked Tart Shell (see recipe above)
1 cup parsley puree
6 small to medium leeks (about an inch around)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 medium precooked potatoes, yellow or purple, cut into thin rounds
4 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves (chopped)
Prepare and prebake the savory tart shell; keep the prebaked tart shell on it baking tray; set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Prepare 1 cup of parsley puree; set aside.
Slice the leeks into thin rounds and place them in a bowl of cold water to remove dirt. Strain.
Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add the leeks and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; remove from heat. Add the cooked sliced potatoes to the pan along with the leeks and one cup of parsley puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
Beat the goat cheese with the egg until smooth, then stir in the milk, creme fraiche, pinch of salt, and black pepper.
Sprinkle Parmesan over the bottom of the tart shell. Spread the leek, potato, and parsley puree mixture over it. Drizzle the custard over and bake until the custard is golden and set in the middle, about 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the pan and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle parsley leaves on top. Serve warm.
(This recipe is inspired by Deborah Madison's "Savory Goat Cheese Tart with Leeks" found in her book Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets).