I took the train down to the Copley farmers market this afternoon. Flats, little knapsack, and leashed cocker spaniel in tow, I couldn’t help but feel a little French shopping for produce outside in the June sunshine. I love all farmers markets, but urban markets always pull at my heart strings a little more than the others. It’s not so much about the contrast between sky scrapers and radishes, thought that’s a visual feast for sure, it’s more that they let me pretend that I live in Paris or Amsterdam; just out with my basket shopping for the evening’s meal.
European envy aside, I carried two big bags brimming with local produce home with me on the orange line. In the bags: garlic scapes (more on those later), baby turnips (use them in this), gorgeous easter egg radishes, baby bok choy, local strawberries (yay!), and something new: broccoli leaves from Sienna Farms. Funny thing is, every time I’ve tried to grow broccoli at home, I end up with tons of leaves, and these itsy bitsy tiny little broccolis, seriously about one floret per pant. All that time, I never once considered eating the leaves. So when I spied the frosted green bunches at Sienna Farms, the sign suggesting roasting or stir frying like kale or collards, I was intrigued.
Into the bag they went, and once home, my first task was to decide what to cook with this new find. Whenever I’m unsure about an ingredient I taste it. It sounds simple enough, and most people who cook regularly are use to tasting as they go (I often joke that I eat my forth meal of the day in the process of making the other three.) But, I’m always a little surprised by how many people don’t taste at all, seasoning and cooking completely blind. Especially for produce, whether it’s something with which you’re familiar or something new, tasting is key. Take eggplant for example: the only way to know if you have a sweet one you can quickly sauté or one that’s more bitter and needs a salt water soak is to taste it. Tasting early will help you bring out the best in whatever you’re using. Today’s broccoli leaves were pleasantly sweet but a little too crunchy to eat raw, so I opted to roast them with a little garlic and lemon zest, and then, still feeling a little French, I decided to bake the roasted leaves, along with a leftover wedge of camembert, into a savory tart.
A few months ago, I jotted down Chocolate and Zucchini’s olive oil tart crust recipe. In the spirit of trying new things (and feeling French), this seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go. A tasty little crust, I must say, especially for a savory tart, I didn’t miss the butter at all. If you can’t find broccoli leaves at your local farmers’ market, I’m sure this tart would be equally good with swiss chard, kale, or broccoli florets. Makes one 10 inch tart; enough to feed 6 as a main course or 8-12 as an appetizer.
Olive Oil Tart Crust
1 ¼ cups, 200g all purpose flour
½ cup, 50g whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
¼ cup, 60g olive oil
½ cup, 120g very cold water
1 bunch broccoli leaves, washed
1 large clove garlic, minced
The finely grated zest of one lemon
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
A small wedge of camembert cheese
5 large eggs
1 ¼ cups half and half
Salt and pepper
Make the Olive Oil Crust:
Combine the flours and the salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the olive oil and water and mix until just combined. Form into a disc, wrap in saran wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll to about ¼ inch thickness and arrange in a 10 inch tart pan. Fold the edges of the dough into the pan and pinch/push so that they are above the top edge of the pan. Using a fork, poke several holes into the bottom of the curst and place the pan in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once chilled, line the tart crust with a sheet of parchment paper filled with dried beans or pie weights and bake 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans/weights and bake an additional 15 minutes to crisp the bottom of the curst.
Make the Filling and Bake the Tart:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Finely chop the stems of the broccoli leaves – use the whole thing, even the large stem at the bottom. Roughly chop the leaves. Toss together the chopped stems and leaves with the garlic, the lemon zest, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and roast 15 minutes. Set aside.
Set a medium skillet over low heat and drizzle in about 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Place the onions in the skillet and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and very soft. This will take 30 to 40 minutes. Keep the heat very low the whole time. Set aside.
Slice the camembert into thin pieces and set aside.
Combine the eggs and half and half in medium bowl and whisk well. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Place the roasted broccoli leaves in the prepared tart shell, top with the caramelized onions, and arrange the sliced camembert on top. Pour the egg mixture into the tart and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until set and golden. Shake the tart gently to test for doneness – when cooked though, you shouldn’t see any jiggle. Remove from the oven an d cool 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.