Here in the northeast we have the pleasure of foraging for ramps in the woods, or as in my case, in the greenmarket. These sweet little wild leeks are such a spring treat, a cross between garlic and an onion in flavor, they cook to a mellow pungency that is beyond addictive. I tried this recipe for a roasted leek tart from Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman, with a bundle of ramps I bought over the weekend, and it was superb. I have included it as is, using leeks, for those of you who don’t have access to these green garlicky beauties, but if you can dig up some ramps, I highly recommend using them!
6 leeks, white parts only, or 12 ramps, trimmed and cut into ½-inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8 ounces)
1 egg, slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup grated Gruyere
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly grease a large sheet pan with oil.
2. Combine the sliced leeks and oil in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the leeks to the prepared pan and arrange in a single layer.
3. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender and lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally fro even cooking. Remove the pan and leave the oven on.
4. Roll out the pastry to an 8 ½ inch square and about ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. (For most commercial puff pastry, this will simply involve unrolling or unfolding the sheet.) Cut and remove a ½-inch square from each corner of the pastry. Fold a ½-inch edge of pastry over toward the center of the pastry to form a raised border.
5. Transfer the pastry to an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork at ½-inch intervals. Brush the egg over the bottom of the crust. Brush the mustard over the egg. Sprinkle the cheese in the pastry shell. Spoon the roasted leeks over the cheese.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Adapted from Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman (Storey Publishing, 2007)