Sylvie was right – Gerard and I had a lot to talk about: food, food and cooking. And I loved watching Gerard in his narrow kitchen. He’s an instinctual cook who sniffs and tastes as he goes and who likes to play and try new things. But our main course wasn’t new – it was a tart well known in the area and one flavored with Dijon’s most famous ingredient: mustard. (Never mind that nowadays the vast majority of mustard seeds are imported from Canada, that’s another – and very interesting – story.)
Gerard didn’t have time to make his usual crust, a pate brisee, so he used a round of storebought all-butter puff pastry (always a delicious option). And while he made the tart all summer with tomatoes – that’s the classic version – it was fall and so he steamed carrots and leeks instead.
Of course a cook like Gerard doesn’t measure, but I’d brought American cups and spoons with me – just in case – and so I stopped Gerard each time he did something and I’m glad I did because I’ve been making the tart ever since and I hope that after this week’s French Fridays with Dorie session, you’ll be making it often, too. Here’s the first mustard tart I made at home– with all the tarts I’ve made, none has ever been as dark as Gerard’s.
One little note – play around with the mustard if you’d like. Gerard used a mix of smooth Dijon and grainy old-fashioned mustards, but you can use what you’d like: one mustard, two mustards, an even split, a little more of one than the other, or a lot more of both. Changing the tart to make it your own is something that Gerard would approve of and I do, too.