Harvest time in my neighborhood means zucchini magically appears on my doorstep, while I’m away. Between my own garden, a favored neighbor’s bounty and my addiction to our local farmer’s market, I am always on the lookout for fun ways to present the season’s best. Rustic Vegetable Tart presents a Mediterranean feast of peppers, zucchini, basil, olives, feta cheese and sundried-tomatoes on a simple, tender tart crust. Try it warm or cold as an appetizer, or serve it with some grilled lemon-herb chicken and an arugula salad for a delicious meal. Think of it as a sophisticated vegetarian "pizza" – no delivery required.
My husband calls me a "planter," not a "gardener." He claims my early spring enthusiasm of placing seeds and baby vegetable plants in my raised-bed gardens ends the minute it starts getting hot and humid outside. Well…the perfect conditions for growing my tasty recipe fixings coincides with the season for watching my kids’ summer sports, lounging next to a cool lake with a good book and enjoying the endless festivals celebrating music and food. Hmmm, not a tough choice. So what if a few weeds enjoy the fertile growing conditions of my edible delights? Everyone still gets to enjoy the "fruits" of my (not-so-much) labor! I like to say it’s my idea of a Garden of Eden – not a garden of "weedn’."
To start making this tart, heat the oven to 450°F and assemble the pastry ingredients—flour, chilled unsalted butter and ice-cold water. I like using unsalted butter when baking to control the seasoning and let the sweetness of the butter shine through.
In a large bowl cut the cold butter into the flour until the mixture looks crumbly. I like to freeze my stick of butter, then use the large holes on a box grater to "shred" the butter into the flour. This quickly cuts the butter into small pieces while keeping it cold (the key to a tender crust).
Add just enough water (about 2 tablespoons) to moisten the flour before gathering and shaping into it into a ball.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Then fold the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to a 9 or 10-inch tart pan.
Make sure to press firmly onto the bottom and sides of the tart pan before cutting away the excess dough and pricking it all over with a fork. Bake the crust approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown. Set the crust on a cooling rack.
Meanwhile, gather the filling ingredients. Cut zucchini and pepper into thin strips.
Chop the fresh garlic as well as sun-dried tomatoes that are in oil.
Heat the olive oil in the skillet until hot. Add all of the prepared vegetables and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid evaporates (about 5 minutes).
Chop the fresh basil and pitted kalamata olives.
Add the olives and basil to the cooked veggies and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into the pastry shell and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with feta cheese and pine nuts. Then bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is hot and melted.
Remove the tart from the oven and let it stand on the cooling rack for about 5 minutes before cutting it into wedges. The tart can also be eaten cold - after baking the tart and cooling it, put it into the refrigerator for a chilled treat. Buon appetito!
I’d love to hear what you think of this Rustic Vegetable Tart…come back in a few days when Bridget will share a quick skillet meal.
Emily is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.