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Smoked salmon crème fraîche tart with a cornmeal millet crust

Get inspired to create hearty, whole-grain breakfast and brunch dishes. The recipes from Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons, by Megan Gordon, are easy to make and deliver filling, flavorful meals to kick off your day.

Smoked salmon crème fraîche tart with a cornmeal millet crust

This savory tart is my number one excuse for picking up a little smoked salmon at the farmers market. I fold it into a crème fraîche custard filling flecked with dill for a simple, versatile midday dish. Since you can enjoy the tart warm or at room temperature, it’s also a fine contender for brunch, outdoor picnics or morning potlucks. Whereas many savory tarts and quiches are weighed down with heavy cheeses, this recipe feels light and fluffy in comparison. It’s great with a small green salad (I love including some bitter mustard greens), seasonal sliced fruit or a simple cup of soup.

Smoked salmon crème fraîche tart with a cornmeal millet crust

Serves 6 to 8

Morning Notes: If you can’t find crème fraîche, it’s easy to make your own at home (recipe follows) or substitute sour cream instead.


For the crust

  • 1/2 cup (65 g) fine-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) white whole-wheat flour or standard whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6  tablespoons (85 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/4 cup (45 g) millet

For the filling

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) minced shallots (about 3 medium shallots)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) crème fraîche
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces (115 g) smoked salmon, cut into small pieces


For the crust

  1. Butter a 9-inch tart pan with 1-inch sides and a removable bottom. Using a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the cornmeal, flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal (alternatively, you can use a pastry blender or your fingertips to work the butter into the dry ingredients).
  2. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to look like wet, clumpy sand. It’s ready if a small piece holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If it still seems too crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
  3. Turn the dough out into a large bowl and mix in the millet, using a fork. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the prepared crust on a small baking sheet for easy transport to and from the oven.
  5. Bake the crust for 15 minutes to slightly dry out the top so that it won’t get soggy when you add the wet filling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

For the filling

  1. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche, eggs, capers, dill, salt and pepper to make a custard.
  2. To assemble and bake the tart: Spoon the shallot mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the crust; arrange the salmon across the top evenly. Pour in the custard mixture.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees F until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Unmold the tart onto a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature. If you have leftovers, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Make ahead

You can bake the crust a day ahead so the next day you simply whisk together the filling, pop the tart in the oven and serve. If going this route, refrigerate the prebaked crust, covered with plastic wrap. You can also bake the entire tart up to 1 day in advance and allow it to cool, then refrigerate it, covered. To serve, reheat in a 300 degree F oven until warmed through, 12 to 15 minutes.

Make your own crème fraîche

  • Pour 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk and 1 cup of unpasteurized or vat-pasteurized cream into a small glass jar. If your store only stocks ultra-pasteurized cream, it will still work — it’ll just take much, much longer.
  • Let the jar sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 12 to 36 hours. If you’re worried about dust or other particles, cover loosely with a swath of cheesecloth.
  • Once it firms up quite a bit, refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. The crème fraîche will continue to firm up in the refrigerator, so don’t expect it to have your ultimate desired consistency right off the bat.

Reprinted with permission from Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons, by Megan Gordon, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photography (c) 2013 by Clare Barboza.

Publisher retains all copyrights and the right to require immediate removal of this excerpt for copyright or other business reasons.

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About the book

Whole Grain Mornings

From crunchy granola to meals made with millet to buckwheat crepes, Whole-Grain Mornings, by Megan Gordon, delivers delightful, easy-to-make and seasonal recipes for the most important meal of the day.

Of the 65 recipes and gorgeous, rustic photos included in this book, whole grains are used as an integral part of the dishes. You’ll come across grains you know and love, and maybe uncover a few you’ve always wanted to try but never have, as well as fruit spreads and sauces.

Each chapter begins with a Seasonal Spotlight that is an overview of the fruits and veggies that are ripe for the picking during each season, along with many tips about them. Not only are the seasons covered in this book, but the different types of breakfast experiences are included, too. Think busy workweek breakfasts, or kick-back Sunday morning meals and brunches.

Along with covering the basics like pantry staples, nuts and seeds, and equipment, you’ll find in-depth information about whole grains. Megan also includes small sections in the book called Make It Your Own (suggestions for adding your personal touch to the recipes), Morning Notes (helpful info to read before prepping the recipes) and Make Ahead (tips to help you save time).

Whether you read this cookbook for the easy-to-follow recipes or for Megan’s personal stories, you’ll love flipping through these pages.

About the author

Megan Gordon is a writer, recipe developer and culinary educator. She writes regularly for The Kitchn and on her blog A Sweet Spoonful. Her work has appeared in numerous national print magazines, including Better Homes & Gardens and the Edible publications. When not writing about food, Megan teaches cooking classes and operates her artisan granola company, Marge, which is distributed nationally and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal and Sunset Magazine. Megan lives in Seattle, Washington, with her partner, Sam.

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