Leek, ricotta and walnut tart with mixed leaf salad

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Vegetarian mains

Leek, ricotta and walnut tart with mixed leaf salad

Main Serves 2 45 min
The clock starts ticking with the pastry in this dish. Make sure you give your oven time to come up to heat as pastry has a tendency to melt and spread rather than rise if put in a low oven. The filling is simplicity itself to make; any bite left in the leeks is cooked out in the final bake.

Cook's notes

Our ricotta is made by High Weald Dairy in Sussex from sheep's milk. It is firm and crumbly, unlike the often watery supermarket versions.

Ingredients

  • 1 pack puff pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 3 large or 4 smaller leeks
  • 25g butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 80g ricotta
  • 25g Italian-style cheese
  • 1 nutmeg
  • 50g walnuts
  • olive oil
  • 50g salad leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method

Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 35 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Take the pastry sheet out of the fridge and unroll it. Cut into 2 equal-sized rectangles. Put the 2 rectangles on the baking sheet. Beat the egg and use some of it to brush the pastry, keeping the leftover egg to one side.
  • Step 2

    Use a sharp knife to score a border around the pastry about 2cm in from the edge. Use a fork to prick the middle part several times. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it's a very pale golden colour and not quite cooked. Use a sharp knife to score a border around the pastry about 2cm in from the edge.
  • Step 3

    Use a fork to prick the middle part several times. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until it's a very pale golden colour and not quite cooked. Meanwhile, trim away the root end and leafy tops from the leeks. Split them in half lengthways and slice into 1cm pieces.
  • Step 4

    Wash to remove any grit, drain well. Heat the butter in the saucepan and gently cook the leeks for 8-10 minutes, until starting to soften. While the leeks cook, zest and juice the lemon. Crumble the ricotta and mix it with the Italian cheese, half the lemon zest, a few turns of black pepper and some grated nutmeg to your taste.
  • Step 5

    Turn the walnuts in a little olive oil, just enough to lightly coat them. Season the leeks with a little salt and pepper. After removing the pastry from the oven, carefully push down any part that has risen in the middle part, leaving a puffed up border.
  • Step 6

    Stir the leftover egg into the leek mixture and divide it equally into the middle of each tart. Crumble over the ricotta and walnuts. Return the tarts to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling lightly coloured.
  • Step 7

    While the tarts cook, wash, drain and dry the salad leaves. Make an easy dressing by slowly whisking 3 tablespoons of olive oil into 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Season with a pinch of salt. When the tarts are ready, serve them warm with a side of dressed salad leaves.