Chef Mark Peel’s leek tart

Winter is peak season for green, stalky leeks. Chef Mark Peel of Bombo at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA shares his favorite leek tart recipe.

Long, stalky green leeks never seem to get the attention they deserve here in the States. In Europe, they are a staple ingredient used in everything from basic stocks and wintery braises to baked quiches and roasts. These giant scallions benefit from low, slow cooking methods that soften their tough, fibrous leaves, imparting a mellow complexity that enhances the other flavors in a dish. Leeks can be found at the market year-round in our neck of the woods, but Chef Mark Peel of Bombo says they are best during the colder months when the young stalks are still sweet and tender.

At home, Peel makes his rustic leek tart using a pre-baked puff pastry crust. The leeks are thinly sliced across the grain and stewed in a generous amount of butter, garlic, sage and thyme. He then sets the leeks in a rich custard base of crème fraîche mixed with egg yolk and a sprinkling of herbed garlic bread crumbs.