Corn Asparagus Leek Tart

A few weeks ago I bought leeks at the Haymarket market. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But then, I ended up not using them that week, and then last week I was in NYC, and well they were going to kick the bucket real soon. I'm not sure how they managed to last this long honestly.

The caveat to having this excess leek inventory is that I've also given up bacon for Lent. By bacon I also mean pretty much all pork related products or things that I love ... like pancetta and prosciutto. In trying to find a recipe for my multiple leeks, I realized that normally when one has leeks they also have bacon. Or not, I might be in a bacon induced haze.

I stumbled onto this recipe via Food52 and I'm glad I did. It's another good one to have in my arsenal ... and can easily become so many different things based on what you have in your fridge at the time. And that my friends, is my favorite kind of recipe.

This ends up being a bit of a cross between a tart and a quiche basically because it is so veggie heavy. I mean you can just only see hunks of corn and asparagus. Because the crust gets its flavors from the thyme and olive oil, it becomes tasty in a different way than I normally desire. I'm a bacon lover and while I love this tart, it doesn't deliver on those craving a "savory" meal.

The ingredients for this babe are not super complicated either. I ended up getting my ricotta from one of my favorite little markets in the North End called Monica's Mercato. Every other time I've bought ricotta it has come in a little plastic container. No big deal. This time.... it came sealed in plastic ... with a bit of water? .... and a tin, covered in plastic, wrapped with an elastic band? I honestly have no idea. If you confused reading, then you can imagine me opening it.
Lastly, if we were keeping track of "firsts". It should be noted that this is one of the first times I've attempted a homemade crust. It was absolutely worth it given how easy it came together. The last time I attempted a crust was in Spring 2006 when I made an Apple Pie. I was trying to impress my boyfriend at the time and honestly, it wasn't worth it. That crust was hard. This crust was easy.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.(flours, salt, and thyme). I'm not sure I've ever used this much thyme before.

(Step 2) Add the olive oil to the dry ingredients, mixing with a fork as you pout it in. Don't expect big changes by adding the olive oil. It will only start to look like clumpy sand.

(Step 3) Add water and continue to mix. The dough will start to come together in a ball. You really want to be careful to not add too much water - but if you do, I think adding in a bit more flour will help to re-balance the ratio. You can see how this dough looks a bit dry but worked out fine for rolling and baking.

(Step 4) Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to fit a 10" tart pan.

(Step 5) Transfer dough to tart pan, trim excess dough and place in fridge for 30 minutes to allow it to rest. Somehow, a miracle was sent my way and I didn't have to make any adjustments to my crust. I mean, that will never happen again.

(Step 6) The original recipe suggested using a pie weight on the crust during baking. I obviously didn't have such a tool at my disposal ... so I just poked some holes in the crust and hoped for the best. It worked out just fine. Bake the crust for about 20-25 minutes or until it becomes lightly browned. And yes, it will be harder to tell because you've used whole wheat flour. Sad face.

(Step 7) While the crust is baking, you can work on the filling. Heat up a large sautee pan with olive oil. Add in leeks, asparagus and garlic and let cook until vegetables start to soften - about 5 minutes or so.

(Step 8) Add corn to sautee pan and continue to cook until the corn starts to brown and soften.

(Step 9) Add in salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of thyme and cook for a few more minutes then remove from heat.

(Step 10) In a bowl mix ricotta, egg, milk and cream with a whisk until smooth. I opted to lighten up this recipe with just using 1 cup of 2% milk. This swap worked out just fine, but if you want something a little more traditional use what I list in the ingredients section.

(Step 11) Stir in remaining thyme and all of the fresh basil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(Step 12) Pour corn, asparagus and leek mixture into the cooked tart shell.

(Step 13) Pour ricotta herb mixture over top. As you can see, I had too much liquid ... but couldn't quite stop myself from pouring it in. Mine turned out just fine, but next time I'll exhibit some self-control. Especially considering how slanted my kitchen is ... burnt milk in the oven would have been terrible.

(Step 14) Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 F or until lightly browned on top and tart is set. Mine required about 45 minutes - might be due to my choice of milk/cream.

Adapted from this recipe

Shopping List
Herbed Olive Oil Crust
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Corn Asparagus Leek Ricotta Tart
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium leeks - sliced and rinsed (white and light green parts only)
1 cup asparagus - cut up into 1/2" chunks
2 cloves of garlic - smashed and minced
2 ears of corn - kernels removed from cob
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1.5 tablespoons dried thyme
1/8 cup fresh basil - chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg

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