Zucchini Tart Recipe (Tarte aux Courgettes)
Savory tart is a very versatile dish. The crust is usually puff pastry, a sauce serves as the filling and the topping is roasted or grilled vegetables. I made pesto using goat ricotta cheese and topped the tart with zucchini. Once you choose your favorite flavorings, you can come up with your own combinations for the pesto sauce, cheeses and vegetables.
Zucchini is a relatively easy vegetable to plant from seeds. My husband Lulu's uncle grew humongous 18-inch zucchini in his garden. Ratatouille would have been a great way to make great use of the veggie but I really wanted to showcase the size of the slices in a tart.
Yields: 8 servings2 large zucchini
1 pound puff pastry dough, store-bought
10 ounces goat ricotta cheese
¼ cup pine nuts, slightly toasted
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper, freshly cracked
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
6 tablespoons olive oil, as needed
1 bunch sweet basil leaves
8 red Cerignola olives, pitted and sliced
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
For the tart shell: Make sure the puff pastry dough is thawed but still cold so it's easy to roll out. Roll the dough using a rolling pin into 2 11-inch disks. Place the dough in 2 loose-bottomed, non-stick 9-inch tart molds; previously lined with parchment paper; following the curve of the mold, crimp the dough against the edge. Gently press the dough with your fingers so there are no air bubbles. Leave a little excess above the edge because the dough will settle a bit in the oven. Prick the dough with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Line the dough with another sheet of parchment paper and top with ceramic pie weights (dried beans work well too). Place the tart pans on a baking sheet and bake for about 12-14 minutes. Remove the pie weights and discard the pieces of parchment paper. Bake for another 2-3 minutes so the pie crust can dry. Remove from the heat and let the dough cool a little down. Set aside.
For the basil: Wash the basil. Reserve a few leaves for garnish later. Quickly blanch the rest for about 5-10 seconds in boiling salted water and transfer to an ice bath to maintain a bright green color. Drain thoroughly and pat dry on paper towels. Coarsely chop the basil.
Making ricotta pesto filling:
In a large, non-stick pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the shallots from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown. Transfer to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan.
In a blender (or a mini-food prep if you have one), combine the basil, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, shallots, and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper. You could add up to 4 tablespoons of milk (or vegetable broth or water) for a smooth flow.
Transfer to a a mixing bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and stir until the color is evenly green.
Cooking the zucchini: Trim and slice the zucchini. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the zucchini slices. Pan-fry the zucchini until golden. Toss well and cook for about 5 minutes. Once the slices are nicely golden, lower the heat, then add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring frequently, for anther 5 minutes.
Cooking the zucchini:
Trim and slice the zucchini. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the zucchini slices. Pan-fry the zucchini until golden. Toss well and cook for about 5 minutes. Once the slices are nicely golden, lower the heat, then add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring frequently, for anther 5 minutes.Assembly time:
Fill the tart shells with the ricotta pesto filling. Top with the zucchini slices. Bake at 375°F for about 8 minutes. At the end, if necessary, to ensure the crust is golden, change the setting to broil and bake for about 2 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Snip the reserved basil leaves and garnish the tarts with olives and basil.
Serve at room temperature with a green salad.
You could also serve these as appetizers. Just line mini tartlet shells with the puff pastry dough and top with 1 to 2 slices of zucchini.
I find red Cerignola olives at a local store. Their color contrasts well with the zucchini. You could replace them with any briny ingredients such as capers or chopped pickles.
Published By: on August 10, 2011.