French Leek Tart

On Sunday mornings in Paris, the open-air market begins at 7 a.m. If you've been up late the night before, you may miss the best fruits, vegetables and cheeses. But no one ever seems to run out of leeks. This slender-stalked cousin of the onion looks picturesque peeking out of the top of a shopping basket, and makes a delicious tart filling for a late-morning brunch.


4 tbsp of sweet butter (not salted)
6 leeks
4 eggs
1 cup of light cream
1 cup of heavy cream
One 12-inch pie shell
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of grated Swiss cheese (use full-flavored
Gruyère rather than Emmenthal if possible)


Preparation time: 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice off the very bottom of the leek (but not the whole bulb) and the darkest portion of the tops. Split the remaining stalks lengthwise, cut into 3- to 4-inch lengths and separate into layers. Rinse 2 or 3 times in cold water to remove dirt and sand. Dry thoroughly.

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add leeks and cover. Stirring frequently, cook over low heat until leeks are tender and limp (approximately 30 minutes). Remove from heat, drain thoroughly and let cool.

Put two whole eggs and two egg yokes in a mixing bowl. Whisk in light and heavy cream and add salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange leeks in the bottom of the tart shell. Add cream and egg mixture to within a half-inch of the top of the shell. Sprinkle grated cheese evenly on top.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-45 minutes or until top is brown and filling is completely set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

For a complete meal, serve on same plate with a simple green salad with shallots, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Makes 4 servings (6 servings if used as an appetizer).