Tomato and Courgette Tart
Sylvie makes this beautiful savory tart for her “Opera Ghost” on the night she decides to lay in wait for him when he comes to collect his dinner. We never know what happens to it, because he leaves without taking it with him. He is extremely out of sorts with her. It is hard to imagine him coming back up the stairs after Sylvie has gone to see if it is still there.
This summery tart is very good at room temperature, and perfect picnic food. Great for vegetarians, too. The base is a classic French Pate Brisee dough and easy to make. Just remember that this type of dough needs some chilling in the refrigerator before rolling it out.
Directions: For the Pastry Base, Combine flour and salt in bowl of a food processor. Meanwhile, cut up cold butter into cubes and place in separate bowl. Place both bowls in freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill. Remove butter and flour mixture from freezer. Add chilled butter to food processor bowl, and pulse several times or until the butter is roughly pea-size and distributed evenly throughout the flour mixture.
Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and pulse several times. Continue to add water (and pulsing a few times) until dough just comes together. Depending on moisture and humidity levels, the amount of water that you may need will change. Remove dough to counter top and press together with hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to chill in fridge for at least one-two hours (or prepare the day before and chill overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
After dough has chilled, remove from fridge. Lightly flour a work surface and rolling pin, and roll out evenly into a large, roughly 12-13” diameter disc, rotating the dough continuously as you go to prevent sticking. Roll the dough around your rolling pin and carefully transfer to a 10-inch tart pan (with removable bottom).
Gently press dough into sides and corners (without stretching) and cut away any excess dough. Cover the pastry tart with plastic wrap and allow to chill for another 15-20 minutes in the fridge. Remove and line tart dough with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
Blind-bake for 20 minutes. Remove beans and parchment and if bottom still does not look completely dry, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on rack. Now it is ready for the filling.
For the filling, combine the minced garlic, finely chopped basil, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Slice zucchini into 1/8 inch slices (a mandolin slicer works well for uniformity). With a serrated knife, slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and place on a layer of paper towels to soak up any excess moisture. Set aside.
Brush tart shell lightly with basil-garlic oil and sprinkle on all of the parmesan cheese. To assemble, start on the outside edge and layer the zucchini and tomato slices alternately in a circular pattern. Be sure to tightly layer them against each other (as they will shrink once baked). Try to leave the bigger slices for the
outside and small slices for the inner circles. Continue until the entire tart shell is filled (you should have two rings, and you can chop up various small pieces to fill the very center). Brush the vegetables generously with basil-garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until the tomatoes and zucchini are soft and lightly caramelized. Scatter over some fresh basil leaves when out of oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Brush the vegetables generously with basil-garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until the tomatoes and zucchini are soft and lightly caramelized. Scatter over some fresh basil leaves when out of oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.