27 June 2009
Recipe - Summer Vegetable Tart
A summery dish that I love making is a summer vegetable tart. It is very simple to make and is delicious cold. This makes it great to keep in the fridge for quick suppers during the week or to take to work as part of a packed lunch.
Like some of my other recipes it is a template that can be played around with to make a variety of similar meals, depending on what you’ve got available or looks good in the shops. The basic recipe is a tomato based tart, which can be built on with additional ingredients such as aubergine and courgette. Normally I make it with tomatoes and aubergine but sometimes I add courgette as well.
1 Fat aubergine
4 Ripe tomatoes
2 Peppers (I am currently using a sweet imported red pepper from Spain and some locally grown small orange peppers)
1 Clove of garlic
1 Thick slices of good rye bread
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
I am useless at making puff pastry so I buy it pre-made from the shops. This is nice and easy, if lazy. Defrost the puff pastry, then lightly oil the bottom of a roasting pan and lay the puff pastry on top of this. If you want to be artful about this, do it in a circle.
Prepare the vegetables and keep separated: slice the aubergine into thin slices then halve, salt lightly and leave to drain in a colander for 10 minutes; finely chop the garlic; remove the stalks and seeds from the peppers and cut into strips and then cut these into 2cm lengths; thinly slice the courgettes, discarding the ends – I sliced them lengthways this time. To prepare the tomatoes, plunge them in water to remove the skins and peel and then thinly slice them and halve.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the courgettes and fry these until they are lightly browned on the light green pulp. Turn at least once. Transfer these to a plate.
Now gently fry the prepared sweet peppers in the pan until they caramelise and soften. Carefully remove from the oil using a slotted spoon, so preserving much of the oil. Transfer these to a plate.
Whilst the courgettes are frying wash the aubergines and then pat them dry. Salting the aubergines, removes some of the bitterness - it comes out as a green liquid that looks a bit like washing up liquid. Fry the aubergines, until lightly browned, turning them a couple of times. Transfer these to a plate.
Now prepare the tart. The way I do it is as follows: I do a row of tomatoes, then a row of aubergines with the aubergine slice slightly overlapping the tomato. I do this until you reach the middle, where I do a row of courgettes. I reckon you get 4 rows on either side of the middle courgette row. Then I randomly sprinkle over some of peppers; if you have some left over, don’t worry as they’re great in salads.
Next I put the bread slices, parsley and garlic into a food processor and whiz these up to fine breadcrumbs and then liberally sprinkle these all over the tart. Next gently pour olive oil over the breadcrumbs/vegetables. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is light brown.
You can either eat this immediately with new potatoes and a summer salad, or I much prefer it cold and we eat it throughout the week. At the moment, we are enjoying it at work for lunch together with a fennel salad.