This past weekend, I had a plan. And that plan involved making this fancy tomato zucchini tart. I promise, it’s not nearly as fancy as it looks–it is actually pretty straight-forward.
In other words, it’s deceptively fancy-looking. And that is my absolute favorite type of food.
I made this dish for the first time in culinary school nearly a year and a half ago (how could it have possibly been that long ago?!). Despite making a zillion other dishes during those six months of my life, this dish continues to be one of my absolute favorites.
Since that time, I’ve been meaning to recreate it and share a version on the blog, but somehow along the way, I got distracted and forgot all about it. Life does that sometimes.
Fortunately, this past Saturday morning, I happened to come across this post and within hours, was walking out the door and heading to the store to grab all of the ingredients.
In all honesty, the most time consuming part of this dish is preparing and blind-baking the crust–a basic pate brisee dough–which you can make by hand or quickly in your food processor.
Other than that, it is a very simple dish to put together, because all the filling ingredients are raw. Once you have sliced the zucchini and tomatoes, it’s simply a matter of alternating the layers in circles…
Start on the outer edges and work your way around. To make the layering process a bit easier, try to buy zucchini and tomatoes with a similar size diameter. Remember not to take yourself too seriously (I got a little OCD) and have fun!
Brush with oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, throw it in the oven, set a timer, and allow it to do its thing.
if you’re impatient like me, feel free to flip on the oven light and stare at it a few times in anticipation.
I really do love this tomato zucchini tart for so many reasons. Not only is it incredibly delicate and light, but it really is all about the filling–fresh zucchini, ripe plum tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
It truly is summer on a plate. Enjoy!
Pate Brisee Dough:
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), cold & cut into very small cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8-1/4 cup ice water (2-4 tablespoons roughly)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup packed basil leaves, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced (1 tablespoon)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- ~1 lb fresh Roma or plum tomatoes
- ~1 lb fresh zucchini
Prepare & Blind-Bake Crust:
- 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 the size of peas 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.
- 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 the dough 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. Fold into quarters and transfer to a 10-inch tart pan (with removable bottom). Carefully press dough into sides and corners (without stretching) and roll the rolling pin over top to remove any excess dough. Cover 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 addition 5-10 minutes, checking regularly. Remove and allow to cool on rack.
Prepare & Arrange Filling:
- Meanwhile, combine the minced garlic, finely chopped basil, and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Using a mandolin (or sharp knife), slice zucchini into 1/8 inch slices. Using serrated knife, slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.
- Brush tart shell lightly with basil-garlic oil and sprinkle on all of the parmesan cheese.
- Starting on the outside edge, 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 vegetables generously with 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. Optional (but recommended): Place under the broil for 2-3 minutes to finish! Watch carefully during this step to avoid burning the crust.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Try to buy tomatoes and zucchinis that are similar in diameter--as it will make the layering process much easier and result in a more attractive looking dish.
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