This tart was a teacher. It taught me to trust my pastry instincts, that garlic has so many more nuanced flavours beyond the norm, and thanks to 'The Flavor Thesaurus,' it taught me a new cooking technique.
A tart for garlic lovers, it showcases the different stages of garlic growth, from sprout to immature corm to fully mature and dried bulb. This tart exemplifies the diversity of this staple ingredient.
Garlic scapes and green garlic are in season now! I’ve seen less lush offerings at my local grocery store, but your best bet for value, size and taste is to hit up your farmer’s market.
On my visit to the first farmer’s market of the year, I was introduced to garlic scapes and green garlic by a kindly older farmer, who recommended I use the scapes in scrambled eggs. I took his advice and loved it! The next Saturday I replenished my supply and conceived of the garlic lover's tart. Green garlic and garlic scapes taste ‘green’ they taste of fresh veg, cut grass, and, of course, garlic.
When looking for a ‘thickener’ and flavour complement to the barrage of green and garlic flavours I turned to my trusted cooking companion, Niki Segnit’s ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ which led me to picada. A blend of garlic, toasted nuts and fried bread, this staple of Catalan cuisine is used as a thickener for sauces, stews and soups. The nutty, toasted flavour added an earthiness to the tart that balanced the ‘green’ flavours that abounded.
We ate it for dinner, but this light dynamic tart would be the perfect brunch accompaniment.
1-¼ cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, chilled and cubed
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons ice cold water
9-inch tart shell with removable bottom
Pastry weights or uncooked rice
In a food processor combine flour, butter and salt and pulse until just combined
Slowly dribble in the water and pulse until mixture just comes together and resembles a coarse meal
Turn out onto lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour, up to overnight
Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F
Turn out pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness
Place in tart shell and place parchment or tinfoil over the dough and weigh down with rice or pastry weights
Blind bake for 15-20 minutes
Remove from oven and let cool
3 medium green garlic bulbs, diced
½ cup garlic scapes, diced on a bias
¾ cup smooth ricotta
½ cup mild goat cheese
2 egg yolks
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper
15 blanched almonds
1 slice of bread
2 large garlic cloves
Mortar and pestle
Begin by making the picada, a typical Spanish ingredient/technique used to thicken sauces and stews
Preheat oven to 400F
On a parchment-lined baking sheet place the almonds
Roast for 8-12 minutes, or until the almonds begin to take on an amber-roasted colour
Remove from oven and let cool
Set a frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Once oil is shimmering, fry the slice of bread on either side until golden brown
Remove from pan and let cool and chop into small pieces
In a mortar and pestle grind the 2 cloves of garlic, fried bread, almonds and a pinch of salt until it forms a paste. You may need to add a dash more olive oil
Set a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the diced green garlic for about 5 minutes, and then add the garlic scapes and sauté for one more minute, remove from heat and let cool
Preheat oven to 375F
In a medium bowl, whisk together both cheeses, egg yolks, picada, green garlic and garlic scapes, season with a pinch of salt and pepper
Pour filling into the tart shell and bake for 20-30 minuets, or until the filling is set, as in it doesn’t jiggle
Let cool for 30 minuets, slice and serve