For a leisurely Saturday dinner in with a vegetarian in mind, I wanted to make something fun and filling. Because this is New England in April, the weather has been a weird mix of nearly hot and actually snowing. I wanted to bake, which would warm up the house, but include fresh spring flavors. I thought immediately of a tart I made last summer and have been wanting to do again. I found the recipe on Fine Cooking and having used it twice with only slight modifications, highly recommend it.
- Make a savory pastry dough; chill it for 30 min.
- Mix 8 oz. goat cheese with herbs and lemon zest
- Slice 1.5 lbs. of zucchini very fine, salt and let drain for 30 min.
- Roll out dough, spread cheese on top, cover with concentric circles of zucchini, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and bake at 400F for 40ish minutes or until golden and tantalizing
All in all, I’d say it was about thirty minutes of active work. I served with a green salad with fennel and apple in a light hazelnut dressing and it made a lovely meal for four.
Are you afraid of pastry? Don’t be. It’s more forgiving than people generally give it credit for. And it’s so buttery and flaky and delicious when you do it even partially right that it’s soooo rewarding. I use my food processor to blend the dough these days but it’s easy enough by hand.
The key is keeping the butter in the dough chilled, so don’t overwork either in the processor or by hand. Of course you can buy pre-made pie crust to make this tart super easy (just avoid ones with sugar in the crust, which honestly will incur more irritation and time than simply making it by hand. See what I did there?).
For the topping: I used only zucchini. Last summer I did a mix of eggplant and zucchini, which was gorgeous. A mandoline comes in handy here but it’s not necessary as long as you’ve got a reasonably consistent slicing hand.
Modify the suggested goat cheese mix to your taste. (Rosemary? Herbs de provence?) I used fresh thyme and about a tablespoon each of lemon zest and tangerine zest. It was so zingy that I would tone that down a notch next time.
The concentric circles of veg on this tart were not tight enough. In cooking, they shrank down a bit too much and revealed some gaps. The other mis-step this time was taking it out of the oven too soon. The edges were getting crispy, we were getting hungry, and we decided a slightly underdone bottom crust was a small price to pay for immediate gratification.