Surprise-a-tart (tart with Belgian endive)

Soggy tart, soggy tart, who wants soggy tart?

The scene: Me on the couch, muttering to myself, but getting louder.

The accessories: A stack of magazines and a pair of scissors.

The cause: The complete crap that the super market’s food magazine comes up with.

Does anyone need a magazine to tell them to add a jar of sauce to a package of powder and sprinkle with a mix? It isn’t just the plain unimaginativeness that gets to me, it is the fact that they call these lists of advertising recipes. Recipes. No, no, no.

I am all for diversity in recipe writing. Give me a story with hints, give me short directions, detail every single step for me. I am not fuzzy and will happily cook from any of them. There is even a place in my world for three-sentence descriptions of entire meals (I love Mark Bittman’s Summer Express with 101 simple meals ready in 10 minutes or less). But do not give me a list of instant powders and sauces and pretend you are telling me how to make real food.

Or if you do, I will sit on my couch and mutter at you.

So why do I do this? Spend precious time going through magazines that annoy me? Because there is always hope. There might be something in there that inspires, gives me a good idea for our next meal. And, to be fair, they are not always equally horrid. Sometimes you can find as many as three or four meal ideas in a single one.

Like this tart. I don’t know about any other savory tart/pie/quiche that has Belgian endive. And, having tasted this one, I don’t understand why. It is such a natural partner for cheese, and makes simple pie-dough* taste a little sweet and quite sophisticated. I tinkered with the recipe to make it more substantial, and I am not quite there yet (soggy tart, anyone?) so won’t tell you what I did yet. But if you want to have a go at it yourself, here’s the idea:

Cover a pie crust with something creamy (the recipe said crème fraiche, I used cottage cheese with eggs and grated cheese, which might have caused the sogginess), then add anchovies and slices of mozzarella. Top with Belgian endive and a dusting of grated cheese. Bake until crust is cooked. The Belgian endive will have softened and developed some browned edges, giving your tart a definitely chic feeling.

Not bad for magazine inspiration. 

*I used a frozen pre-made one. Does that make me a hypocrite?


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