A few weeks ago I was working with my rote ‘background noise’ of the Food Network on the family room television. I’m not sure how long it will play that role in my world as it seems to be quickly turning in the Food Contest Network but for the time being I still prefer it to news or soaps so there is that. I heard Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, chatting about her love for a pizza with leeks and potatoes. I not only like leeks and potatoes together (think soup) but I happen to have had both in my kitchen that day. When she said goat cheese I was hooked; not only do I love it on pizza but I also had some in my fridge…it seemed somehow prophetic that I had the requisite ingredients so later that day I sought out the recipe online at the Food Network and I was on my way.
With some changes of course! No pizza dough in sight and no desire to make any resulted in my pizza becoming a tart with some puff pastry dough. Ree’s recipe called for fresh mozzarella which I do love but with a big bag of the shredded variety calling to me I used it instead. I am so not the kind to run to the grocery store for one item and that’s become even more so since I moved (almost a year ago if you can believe it…I know I can’t!). A round trip to the grocery used to be maybe 15-20 minutes if I wanted one thing, now my drive time has tripled and I have to keep more food stores on hand…if I don’t have something, I often punt.
Besides, the holidays were upon us and I thought this sounded fantastic for a party appetizer and it was. I had recently received bottles of Blanc de Blancs Brut and Brut Rosé from Le Grand Courtage to enjoy with our holiday festivities. Along with the full bottles I also received a 187ml mini which turned out perfect for my needs. I enjoyed my new appetizer with a chilled glass from the small bottle and saved the others for our Thanksgiving festivities. Look closely at the name too. It can be confusing to think that all sparkling wines from France are Champagne but just as other countries are not allowed to use that description for their product, the same holds true for sparkling wines made in other regions of France. Different regions and different grapes mean they are considered Cremant; much like Spain has Cava and Italy Prosecco. I’ve tasted many varieties from all three countries and have had some great ones; I won’t deny that for me one thing I love the most? Much less expensive than Champagne.
Le Grand Courtage Grande Cuvee Blanc de Blancs Brut has lots of tart, green apple character with lemon peel also evident on the nose. The body is heavy on the aforementioned fruit but of real importance to me; it is not TOO dry. I don’t want an overly sweet sparkling wine but finding ones that aren’t too dry is important to me; too dry and they almost taste bitter to me. The mellow conclusion takes things to a simple and easy finish. Altogether a solid choice for a nice, restrained aperitif and perfect with this appetizer.
Le Grand Courtage Grande Cuvee Brut Rose is a gorgeous pink blend of Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, and Gamay grapes. Fresh and fruity, with clear strawberry notes on the nose. A nice bracing acidity on the palate and some nice floral elements — almost green and grassy at times. The finish is clean with that strawberry element lingering; altogether lovely and difficult to put down; it was perfect for our turkey dinner. Both bottles range from $20-24 and for the quality we enjoyed, well worth that price point for your special occasion too.
I may have tasted this tart with a salad on the side for dinner but I’m hosting a Christmas party for my block the weekend before Christmas and this will be on the menu. Anyone remembering my travails last year, how my house was not done until after Christmas and I was living in less than ideal circumstances, can only imagine how excited I am to be here now and to be able to decorate my home and celebrate with new friends. That’s all the gift I need. Cheers!
Potato, Leek and Goat Cheese Tart
- 1 package puff pastry, thawed
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 leeks, rinsed well to remove grit and thinly sliced
- 4 small red potatoes, sliced paper thin with a food processor, mandoline or sharp knife
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 lb shredded mozzarella
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Fit the pastry into a rectangular tart pan; pinching the edges together with a bit of water.
- Fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp; remove and set aside.
- Pour off most of the grease and return the skillet to the stove and turn the heat to medium low; add the leeks and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Drizzle the pastry with just a bit of olive oil.
- Arrange the potatoes in a single layer all over the crust, slightly overlapping the edges. Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt, then scatter the mozzarella on top of the potatoes.
- Arrange the sauteed leeks on top of the cheese and sprinkle the fried bacon pieces over the top, followed by the crumbled goat cheese, grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.
- Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, 13-15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately.
- NOTE: If you don't have a tart pan just use a baking sheet. Put a layer of aluminum foil into a baking sheet with sides. Place the puff pastry onto the foil and cut pieces of dough to fit into either a square or a rectangle. Moisten overlapping edges and pinch together creating one solid piece of pastry. Roll over the edges to form a border, placing two sides of the dough up the sides of the baking pan. Roll up the outside edges of the foil as a collar for the other two sides of the pastry to help hold the rolled up edge in place.