Whilst I really enjoy cooking and am happy to be spending hours in the kitchen, I am also a big fan of quick and easy weekday meals for when time is precious and when just a handful of ingredients put together creates a delicious feast for your senses. This tart definitely is that. It is also elegant enough to be a solution for when you are stuck for dinner party ideas. Which by the way have to include men as without them it is not a dinner party. Apparently… Still, I quite enjoy dinner parties with my girlfriends with not a single man in sight, just saying.
This tart is inspired by a tart we ate whilst visiting our friends Kasia & Linas in Luxembourg recently. My friend’s husband, Linas is the cook in their relationship and is definitely a carnivore. For him, similarly to Mr A, a meal has to include some meat to feel substantial enough. And he has cooked us some very delicious meals whilst we were with them – his cooking is very hearty thanks to his Lithuanian heritage and capitalises on the Eastern European flavours which are so very close to my heart. We would spend evenings around their kitchen island, the heart of their home, whilst drinking and snacking on nibbles. Linas would be cooking at the same time with all of us chatting away with each other, a very sociable affair at the end of which Linas would present us with a main dish and some accompaniments and we would enjoy a beautiful meal together. We are talking big, comforting flavours such as roast leg of lamb with roasted vegetables or duck with sauerkraut and mushrooms to mention a couple. Delicious.
Kasia’s cooking on the other hand is different in style, much more feminine and delicate. She is a fan of fish and is quite happy to skip the meat in favour of flavours and speedy dinner. And so one evening, she presented us with a tart. With salmon fillet chunks and melted goat’s cheese. With rough puff pastry case enveloping the barely set custard filling. Served with a simple garden salad, it was a very satisfying meal. Even both our husbands agreed. A triumph without the meat in sight.
We had some wonderful meals together with Kasia & Linas.The notion of sharing food with my family and friends is very precious to me, especially when we only see each other every few years and I will cherish these memories for a very long time to come.
And so a few days ago, we were reminiscing and talking about Luxembourg. We had only just returned back to school and work and with the addition of Amber to our family unit, I was finding it difficult to fall back into the established routine. With dinner time looming over my head as well as the need to walk the dogs and catch up with few chores, I though of Kasia’s tart. Quick and easy to make, the concept was perfect. I never asked Kasia for the recipe thus allowing myself the freedom to pull the tart and its filling together using the ingredients from the fridge. And that is how this tart was born.
I replaced the salmon fillet with strips of smoked salmon as well as adding fresh dill. Baby leaf spinach and juicy fresh cherry tomatoes created the visual contrast. Soft brie chunks replaced the goats cheese to lift the flavour a notch. And filo pastry complemented the lightness of the filling thus creating a very elegant tart. I served the tart with some fresh asparagus as an accompaniment. It was an utterly delicious dinner after which I felt a little bit more in control. Here is the recipe.
- 1 pack of filo pastry
- 70 grams of baby leaf spinach
- 50 grams of smoked salmon slices
- few sprigs of fresh dill
- 100 grams of baby cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
- 100 grams of brie
- 4 eggs
- 150 ml semi-skimmed milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to to 180°C. Cut greaseproof paper to size of your tart tin. Scrunch the paper and straighten it out a little before lining the tart tin. Set aside.
Unfold the filo pastry and using individual sheets, arrange these in the tin. Starting with the first sheet, line the tin leaving the overhang. Rotate the tin a little and place another sheet overlapping the first one. Continue until all of the pastry is used up. Scrunch the overhang together.
Place the spinach leaves in the bottom of the tart. Next, slice the smoked salmon slices into strips. Arrange these over the spinach.
Now add the sliced tomatoes and arrange loosely. Keep few tomatoes back. Cut the dill roughly and sprinkle it over the filling.
In a large jug, whisk the eggs with the milk and season it with pepper. I didn’t use any salt since the smoked salmon is salty enough for our tastes. Pour the mixture over the filling and add the remaining tomatoes. Arrange the chunks of brie in between the filling.
Brush the overhang of the pastry with some milk. Place the tart in the preheated oven and bake it for 30 minutes or so. Check it in the middle – it should still be slightly wobbly. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so before cutting.
Serve it with some fresh asparagus or a green garden salad of crunchy cos lettuce, soft avocado and baby peas. And any leftovers make an equally delicious lunch. If you are planning on serving this as individual tarts, reduce the cooking time accordingly. Enjoy it x