Goat's Cheese, tapenade and Leek Tranche - a Bit of a French Tart!

This tart is fast, easy and guaranteed to impress

Come rain or  come shine, many of us are going to be eating outside with a few friends in the near future. Just because we can, which is finally something to celebrate. The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and our desire to use the freedom to roam outside is getting greater. As a result, the amount of time we want to spend indoors cooking is perhaps getting smaller. But before we step out perhaps we should give some thought to making a little something we can eat while
we are outdoors, something maybe to share with others in the form of picnic fare.
This recipe is for an easy French appetizer that is is sure to please those in search of distinctive flavours; Salty olive tapenade, sweet leeks and creamy goat cheese all combine to make one great taste when served on puff pastry. This tart is a perfect to take on a picnic ( I rue the restriction and wait in hope for being allowed out for one in the not too distant future) It tastes great warm or at room temperature. So without any further ado lets get  baking and lay out the picnic rug, and finally find the spring in our collective step. First of all a quick word on one of the key ingredients.
Tapenade is a condiment from Provence in the south of France. It is one the easiest recipes from that region, it is very popular and seen as a staple there. It is made by crushing olives, either green or black, and adding olive oil to obtain a spreadable paste. You can find tapenade made with both green and black olives. Other possible ingredients in a tapenade are: anchovies, lemons, brandy, mustard, capers, garlic and herbs. You could try making your own, but there are many very high quality products ready to go in a jar.

Beyond this recipe, here are some other easy ways to enjoy tapenade:

  • Simply spread on toasted French bread and served as an appetizer (try it with a Corsican Muscat for even more authentic southern French flavour).
  • As a dip for raw vegetables.
  • As an accompaniment to grilled fish or meat.
Leek and goats cheese tapenade tranche
Makes 6 appetiser or picnic servings

Puff pastry
4 to 6 thin small leeks (cut in halves or thirds to fit the width of the tranche )
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/3 cup white wine
Green olive tapenade (if you don´t have green tapenade, black olive tapenade will work well)
1 "log" of chevre goat cheese (about 8 ounces), cut in 1/4 inch thick rounds

Roll out the puff pastry into the shape you wish. Press up the sides and into the base of the tin and prick the bottom in a dozen places with a fork. Cook for 10 minutes at 200° C on a non-stick baking sheet. Remove from oven and cool.
Meanwhile, cut the roots and the greens off of the leeks. Slice the white part in halves or thirds to the width of your tranche. Steam them for 5 minutes (you can do this in the microwave if you wish).
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add the leeks, thyme, and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer just until the wine evaporates.
To construct the tart: spread the tapenade on the cooked pastry. Cover with the leeks and than evenly with the goat cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C or until the cheese has melted and started to brown on top.
Serve at room temperature or cold.Can be made a day ahead.

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