The Kitchen Gardener | Parsnip & Caramelized Leek Tart
And we're back! The Pure Green blog had to go an a little hiatus, becuase, well, I had a baby! Jonathan and I welcomed our new baby girl, Charlie Aimée MacKay, on the 23rd of March, and we've been getting to know her (and fall hopelessly in love with her) since then! I am slowly easing back into the swing of things, and what better way to do that than with a new post that celebrates spring by the Kitchen Gardener, Jacqui! (I promise to introduce Charlie soon as well!) - Celine
Gardening has taught me to love spring for what it is. The start of the season is a deceiving time in the garden. Not much is growing, but there is still that excitement of shoots budding and gardens getting prepped for tiny seedlings. Soon they'll be lining up single file for a place to grow and stretch out. It's a time for observing the slow changes made to the earth every day.
Starting trays of seeds is occupying most of my free time right now. Each week I've been sowing and tending to cool season crops like broccoli raab, onions, cabbage, and kale. While cleaning out the garden beds and getting them ready for transplants, I uprooted a bunch of parsnip stragglers that had overwintered and I thought I'd hit the jackpot. I am so in love with parsnips. I could easily eat them all winter long and not get tired of them. They're perfect when roasted, giving them a creamy interior and sweet earthy flavor. I didn't plant nearly enough for a fall harvest and thought I'd eaten my way through them before getting to November, but apparently I'd missed a few.
I still have a bunch of leeks too, so my first thought went to a creamy leek and parsnip soup, but after having nearly a week of soup when my husband was sick, I decided to think of other ideas. I always think of quiche and tarts this time of year, possibly because of Easter, so I kept going back to that idea. Using a stand-by crust, I cooked the parsnips until soft and added them to the lightly sautéed leeks. Threw in a bit of seasoning and topped it with a light dusting of Pecorino Romano. The result was amazing, slightly sweet, yet earthy at the same time. There are several steps involved but the effort is well worth the result and if you prepare the crust dough ahead of time, you'll save yourself some time the next day.
Parsnip & Caramelized Leek Tart | Serves 6
3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons ice water
3/4 pound parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, divided
salt and black pepper to taste
arugula for serving, optional
Combine the flours and salt in a food processor, then add in the cubes of butter. Use the pulse button until the mixture just starts to come together into a coarse meal. Add the ice water, starting with 2 tablespoons, pulsing in between just enough for the dough to come together. If it still seems dry, add in the last tablespoon. Dump the mixture out and gather to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day in advance.
Preheat oven to 375ËšF. Lightly grease a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a circle that's about 1-1/2-inches larger than your tart pan. Carefully lift the dough into the tart pan and gently press into the corners and up the sides. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. You can also weigh the crust down with pie weights if you're worried about it rising. Let cool and turn the oven down to 350ËšF.
Meanwhile, boil the parsnips for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash with the back of a fork. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the oil or butter and the leeks along with a pinch of salt and cook until they begin to brown and caramelize, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and Herbes de Provence. Stir in the 1/4 cup of the Pecorino Romano, leeks, parsnips and a bit of black pepper and salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the crust, top with the remaining Pecorino Romano and bake 25-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
To follow Jacqui on a more regular basis, hop on over to Good Things Grow. Photos and recipe in this post by Jacqui Scoggin for PGM.