May 6, 2006

Tarte aux Légumes


It's hard to spend a day in Paris and not have some little tarte staring at you through a shop window; tempting you with luscious shiny fruit or a savory vegetable filling layered on a nicely tanned crust. A tarte is slightly different than a quiche, if you were wondering. Usually a tarte lacks the eggy custard filling of a quiche; however I have seen the terms interchanged a lot, so perhaps it's not a hard and fast rule.

A tarte like this one is a perfect use for all those vegetables that have been hanging out in the fridge. Also, as spring produce is looking better every day now, feel free to use whatever veggies you have. Asparagus or fresh spinach would be delicious.
Think of it a bit like you would a pizza. Don't use watery toppings and pre-cook the harder vegetables before placing on the tarte. Check out this article written by author, blogger, and chocolate expert David Lebovitz on rustic tarts. He has some great recipes and thoughts.

This made a delicious light dinner accompanied with an arugula salad. It would also make a nice first course, thinly sliced and served atop a small plate of greens. If you have puff pastry that comes in a rectangular shape, you could make a few long skinny tarts and cut them in thin strips for hors d'oeuvres, or cut the puff pastry with a small circular cookie cutter for individual mini-tarts. If this was truly a Proven
çal tarte, you would likely use goat cheese, not comté, as most cheeses from Provence are made with goat's milk. This version with comte tasted wonderful, though!
Tarte aux Légumes :
Proven
çal Vegetable Tart with Comté Cheese

1 puff pastry crust (or see this cornmeal crust)
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
1 or 2 ripe tomatoes (on the vine), thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dried Herbs de Provence
1/3 cup grated comté or gruyère cheese, or goat cheese
fresh basil and/or fresh thyme

Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft and tender; do not let it brown too much. Season the onions with salt and the herbs de Provence. Remove to a plate and let cool a few minutes. Turn up the heat to high and add the red pepper to the pan and cook until just tender but not limp. Add the zucchini and sauté over high heat for just 1-2 minutes. Remove these vegetables to a separate plate.

Roll out the pastry crust (or place the puff pastry) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick a few holes in the crust with a fork. (which I forgot to do, so my tarte had a huge bulbous edge of puffed crust...c'est rien de grave)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees/200 degrees C. Layer the vegetables onto the crust, leaving a 2 inch space around the edge, as you would with a pizza. I layered the onions first, then red pepper, zucchini, cheese and topped it with the tomato slices. Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil and/or thyme over the tarte. Fold in the sides of the tarte, pleating them as you go around. Bake for 25-30 minutes for puff pastry and 35-45 minutes for cornmeal crust.

2 comments:

Ivonne said...

Wow!

Megan, that's lovely. It's almost lunchtime here in Toronto so I'd love a slice of that gorgeous tart!

Tania said...

Megan,

First of all, I can only imagine the temptation of all those sweet and savoury tarts peeking out from pastry shop windows! How do you resist??

As for your veggie tart ... well, it looks delicious! I like the idea of a puff pastry crust, as that spares me the agony of making one of my patented inedible pie crusts. Thanks for sharing your recipe!