Ham and Leek Tart (Flamishe aux Jambon et Poireaux)
This is the dinner Erik never got to eat – it was what Sylvie was bringing him the night she was overcome by le grippe. I like to think the doctor from the Opera House helped himself to it on his way out after attending to her.
In France, a tart like this would be made with lardons, small diced pieces of raw bacon that you can buy in packets ready to cook. Lardons are used often to add flavor to many dishes, including salads. Here, I have substituted finely sliced cooked ham. If you have some ham left over from dinner, set it aside to try in this delicious traditional tart. Savory tarts seem to differ from quiches in that they do not contain any cheese, just eggs and dairy such as crème fraîche or milk and cream.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over low heat and sauté the ham pieces for a few minutes – you want them a little bit crisped. Transfer the ham to a dish and set aside. Add the butter to the pan, then the leeks. Cook the leeks gently for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, to soften them. Do not brown the leeks. Remove pan from the heat and set aside to cool a bit.
Preheat oven to 4250 F. If using a frozen pie shell, remove from freezer and packaging and allow to defrost completely. Prick the bottom all over with a fork. If using ready-rolled pastry, allow to defrost completely, unroll and press gently into a pie dish.
Prick all over with a fork.
In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and cream, and season with
salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. By now the leeks should be cool enough, so now spread them carefully over the bottom of the pie shell. Scatter over the ham pieces. Pour or spoon over the cream and milk mixture, spreading evenly over and through the leeks and ham.
Place in the hot oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and the filling firm and browning a little. Allow to cool for a little while before slicing, or the tart may be difficult to slice and serve. Serve with a rocket salad on the side.