After the success of the spinach tarts I tried a version with leeks and it turned out great! Leeks and shallots that are cooked slowly can obtain a wonderful sweet flavor and the texture of these tarts is very soft. The tarts are relatively easy to make and quite impressive. You could also serve them in ramekins as soufflés, as the tarts rise dramatically (and also fall dramatically). You could try to beat the egg whites separately and fold them in for even more of a ‘soufflé’ effect. Without further ado, here’s how to make these lovely vegetarian tarts, that could be served as a vegetarian dish by themselves or as a side to either fish or white meat.
I only made half the recipe and since I was making this up as I went, the wine is not included in this photo
For 4 servings (4 tartlets)
350 grams (.77 lbs) leeks, white part only
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
60 grams (2 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
butter (for sautéing the leeks and buttering the muffin pan)
breadcrumbs (for coating the muffin pan)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Use only the white and light green part of the leeks. Cut in half lengthwise and then slice thinly (4 mm – 1/6 inch).
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a frying pan. As soon as the butter foams, add the shallots and thyme and sauté for a few minutes until the shallot is translucent and fragrant.
Add the leeks, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sauté for a minute.
Add the white wine. Cook, stirring, until about half of the wine has evaporated.
Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the leeks are tender. Stir now and then.
If there is still wine left in the pan, cook uncovered until most of it has evaporated.
Transfer the leeks to the food processor or blender.
Add the eggs, parmigiano, nutmeg, and cloves.
Process until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and/or cloves.
Butter 4 positions in a muffin pan. (Each muffin holder should be about 100-120 ml, 1/2 cup or a bit less. You can also use ramekins of that size.)
Coat with breadcrumbs.
Fill with the leek mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180C/350F until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The sformatini will rise, but they will collapse pretty soon when taken out of the oven.
It should be fairly easy to remove them from the pan. You can serve them right away, or heat them up later in the muffin pan for 10 minutes in the oven preheated at 180C/350F.