Smoked Salmon Tart with Candied Leeks
Buttery smoked salmon contrasts with crisp puff pastry in tarts that are easy to make with purchased fresh or thawed frozen puff pastry dough. Serve them as elegant appetizers for a special dinner, or surround with some dressed greens for a lunch dish. The pastry circles may be baked and the leek mixture made up to 6 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. The tarts should be assembled just before serving.
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon, at room temperature
- Puff pastry dough - 8 ounces
- Canola or Corn oil - 2 tablespoons
- Leeks - 4 large, white part only, cleaned and julienned
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Fresh Thyme - garlic clove,
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced
- Shallot - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Smoked Salmon - 8 very thin slices
- Fresh basil - 1 teaspoon, minced
- Olive Oil - 1 teaspoon
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a heavy baking sheet (or stack 2 baking sheets) with butter. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a thickness of 1/8-inch. Cut four 4- to 5-inch-diameter circles from the pastry. Place the puff pastry circles on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Let cool, then split each circle in half horizontally to make 8 thin circles. Return these circles to the oven and bake another 5 to 7 minutes, until very crisp.
Heat the oil in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, season lightly with salt and pepper, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sugar, thyme, garlic, and shallot. Reduce the heat to low and saute for 10 minutes, or until the leeks are golden brown and wilted. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
To assemble the tarts: Preheat the broiler. Heap caramelized leeks generously on the bottom half of a pastry circle and arrange 2 slices of smoked salmon over the leeks, ruffling it decoratively. Sprinkle generously with pepper and top each tart with 1/4 teaspoon chopped basil and 2 to 3 drops of the olive oil. Place under the broiler for 20 to 30 seconds, until the salmon is just warmed but not cooked.
To serve: Place a tart in the center of each small serving plate. Lean a top against each salmon tart.