A great recipe to make for any Bastille Day celebrations you might be having from Pierre Koffmann's fabulous Memories of Gascony, one of my all-time favourite cookbooks, which was reissued in a beautiful edition in 2012.
Tarte au Jambon et à l’Ail
3 heads of garlic
50 g/2 oz duck fat
75 g/3 oz bayonne ham, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
200 ml/7 fl oz milk
2 egg yolks
2 slices of white bread, crumbled
freshly ground pepper
250 g/9 oz pâte à tarte (or shortcrust pastry)
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Cut three 10 cm/4 in squares of foil.
Place a head of garlic and one-quarter of the fat in the middle of each square and wrap tightly in the foil. Place in a roasting pan and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, until soft.
Heat the rest of the fat in a frying pan and quickly fry the ham for about 10 seconds on each side, adding the parsley at the last moment.
To make the custard mixture, mix together the milk, egg yolks and breadcrumbs and season with a little pepper. Place in the fridge until needed.
Roll out the pastry into a circle to fit a 20 cm/8 in flan dish and line the dish with the pastry. Bake blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, unwrap and peel the garlic. Place it in the part-baked flan case together with the ham. Pour in the custard mixture and bake in the hot oven for 25 minutes.
Pierre suggests serving this hot but I think it would be pretty good at room temperature if you wanted to make it ahead.
What to drink: It would be rude not to drink a Gascogne wine with this wouldn't it? A fruity white Côtes de Gascogne like Domaine de Pellehaut's Harmonie de Gascogne 2012 (£6.95 Hercules Wine Warehouse, £7.25 The Secret Cellar), I suggest, or a Gascogne rosé.
From Memories of Gascony by Pierre Koffmann, published by Mitchell Beazley, £30 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)