French in a Flash: Three-Cheese Hearty Greens and Puff Pastry Tart


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

I occasionally get the idea that vegetables have to be saintly, angelic, good little greens, when in reality the French have it right. Vegetables are virtuous by default; a little yin-and-yang counter-indulgence wouldn't be remiss. There's nothing like French peas with ham and cream, or potatoes Dauphinoise, or carrots glazed in butter, or endives wrapped in ham and smothered with béchamel. How can it be wrong when it tastes so right?

Here's my addition to the universe of slightly decadent French vegetables. I start off with a hearty mix of spinach, chard, and leeks, wilt them down until they're dry as a bone, and stir in three cheeses: ricotta for creaminess, Gruyère for nuttiness, and parmesan for salty bite. I also add some toasted pine nuts for texture. Then, I spread the creamed spinach-esque mixture onto a round of puff pastry and toss it in a hot oven. The cheeses melt and the greens lightly toast as the pastry puffs and crisps. The result is a slightly virtuous, slightly sinful, delicious vegetarian tart perfect for light dinners or lunches. Bon app!

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