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Flamiche aux Poireaux

August 13, 2009




Few cookbooks have gotten as much use in our house as Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking. It is full of outstanding French bistro fare that is surprisingly simple to prepare (although often time-consuming, alas). To name but two of our favorites, Nordic Babe does a mean Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet, and I am in love with the Poulet Rôti L’Ami Louis. The simplicity of these dishes lets the flavors of the ingredients come through in all their purity without much in the way of distraction.

Today I needed to use up the leeks that had been sitting in the refrigerator for several days. They were supposed to become leek and potato soup last weekend, but I never got around to it. So I decided on a tart instead: one of those cheesy, leeky tarts so typical of the north of France. (Just thinking about it makes me want to work in the words “vasty fields,” but there seems no elegant way to accomplish this at the moment; so there it is, dear reader.) Turning to Wells’ cookbook, I found a Flamiche aux Poireaux that piqued my curiosity.

Now, if there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am definitely not a baker: pastries, tarts, cookies, cakes, pies and the like are all the domain of Nordic Babe—and she is, thankfully, a fabulous baker. But the pâte brisée in this recipe seemed like something I could pull off fairly successfully. In fact, there was only one mishap: I failed to put down enough flour when I rolled out the pastry, so I had to get rather inventive while extricating it from the counter so I could move it into the tart pan. Other than that, it was smooth sailing.

Acquiring jambon for the tart, on the other hand, took a little doing. I figured that The Fresh Market or Whole Foods would have me covered; unfortunately, I assumed incorrectly. I ended up purchasing it by the 1/2 lb. from a local favorite that serves croissant au jambon et fromage, although they are best known for the superb breads and tarts that Lionel prepares with much diligent care and attention.

The finished flamiche aux poireaux—golden brown and warm—practically begged me to pop the cork on a bottle of Zind-Humbrecht Riesling. How could I resist?  The honeyed sweetness, the combination of crispness and acidity, and the rather full-flavored finish pair perfectly with the hearty texture and gruyère/leek scent of the tart. I served this pairing with spring mix tossed in a lemon-vinaigrette I had already made over the weekend.



And the response? Foodie Girl, our intrepid seven-year-old cheese fanatic, raved about the gruyère as she asked for a second slice. Her little sister, The Mooch, offered up her excited assessment—”This is kind of like pizza and pie at the same time!”—while devouring it with aplomb. Now the watermelon sorbet is ripening in the freezer, just waiting for Nordic Babe and I to savor it once the kids are down for the night. Bliss.

MUSIC: “Sous le ciel de Paris,” Yves Montand… enjoy it here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 13, 2009 10:15 pm

    I find your new “foodie” blog quite interesting, but what I find most entertaining are the names you’ve given your family. I look forward to the day your youngest can dine at the family table…simply because I desire to hear what he will be called. 🙂

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