Mary Anne here. So, you decided to grow your own garden. Bravo. You planted those tidy rows of zucchini and assorted summer squashes; drove stakes into the loamy earth to support plump, rosy red tomatoes; you even remembered to pop in wire fencing all around your Eden to keep rabbits from nibbling at the basil. Good job! Well, now it’s August and guess what’s for dinner?
In celebration of green thumbs everywhere, I conjured up this ode to summer veggies. Chock full of zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onion, this will get you well on your way to enjoying your magnificent harvest! Serve this tart alongside a crisp green salad and an ice-cold bottle of Chardonnay. And don’t forget to invite the neighbors, a surplus always tastes better when shared. PS: Check out Mariel’s crust-less spin-off if you’re a reluctant baker: Roasted Veggie Sandwiches with Sweet Herbed Ricotta
Bumper Crop Tomato and Zucchini Tart Serves 8 to 10
Note: You will need a 10-inch spring form pan and a prepared piecrust. Tip: Reserve some of the tomato juice for the custard. I seeded and diced my tomatoes on a cutting board with a well running along its borders. I strained the seeds and juices into a clean bowl, through a metal mesh sieve. After discarding the bitter seeds, I then scraped the diced tomatoes into the sieve, again reserving the juices, which in total amounted to 1/3 cup. If you forget to do this part, it will not have a huge impact on the final product. The tomato juice simply enhances the flavor a bit. Ingredients for the basic pie crust: 1¼ cups flour – stock ½ teaspoon salt – stock ½ teaspoon sugar – stock 1 stick sweet butter (8 Tablespoons), sliced – stock ¼ cup ice water – stock Ingredients for the filling: 1 lb. fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped – $1.71 1 red bell pepper – $0.73 1 medium zucchini, diced – $1.09 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, diced – $0.80 2 cloves garlic, minced – stock 8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped – $1.99 4 Tablespoons olive oil – stock 4 eggs, lightly beaten – stock 1 cup light cream – $1.29 3 Tablespoons sherry – stock 2 cups of Jarlsberg cheese, grated – $2.20 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried) – stock 1 teaspoon salt black pepper to taste Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $9.81 Total Per Serving (based on 8 servings): $1.23 Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 2. Prepare the piecrust. Arm the food processor with its metal blade and pour in all of the ingredients, except the ice water. Press pulse for about 10 seconds or so, until the dry ingredients appear like coarse meal. 3. Slowly, through the feed tube, drizzle the iced water while simultaneously pressing the pulse button. This step is critical – don’t over mix the dough as it will quickly toughen. You want to “pulse” it just until it holds together. 4. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the dough out onto it. With very gently pressure, first form the mixture into a ball, then using the flat of your hands press it into a flat disc. Remember, the less you handle and maul the pie dough, the flakier the result. 5. Wrap the plastic around the disc and refrigerate one hour. *(You can refrigerate it up to three days before or freeze it for a month. I often will double or quadruple the recipe, freezing several crusts at once so that I always have a supply for last minute pies.) 6. On a floured counter top or cutting board roll out the pastry to fit the 10-inch spring form pan. Transfer the dough to the pan Line pan with crust by laying it across the bottom and up the side to just below the rim. Gently press into place. 7. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high flame. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 5 minutes. 8. Add all of the rest of the prepared vegetables to the pot and cook over medium flame, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. 9. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the beaten eggs with the cream and sherry. Stir in the reserved tomato juice and chopped basil. 10. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the prepared pie crust. 11. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the vegetables. Pour the cream mixture over the vegetables and cheese. 12. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for about 55 minutes, until top is golden and puffed and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. 13. Allow the tart to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Run a sharp knife along the inside edge of the pan to carefully loosen the crust from the sides. Release the pan’s side spring and carefully lift the outer ring straight up and over the top. This pie makes a striking presentation!