Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Zucchini, Zucchini

I really do enjoy zucchini. I keep waiting for my zucchini plants to start going crazy, but so far I have been able to keep up. I've even let a few fruits go and get large for shredding for zucchini bread. And while I could eat zucchini sauteed, roasted, or grilled any day of the week, yesterday I was looking for something different for my daily zucchini. I had in mind a sort of pie or tart, so I went looking for a recipe. All my usual suspects let me down. The few I did find were more like a quiche or frittata- and I did not want eggs. I did not want custard . Then I found a recipe on the FoodTv website from Ellie Krieger for a Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart that sounded good. It was promising, and I thought I could use her tart shell as my base and sort of play with the ingredients a bit, as I didn't have the eggplant or quantity of cheese called for.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This was not a quick and easy recipe. I wouldn't say it was difficult, but it was time consuming and there were a lot of steps. Now that I've made it once, it will be easier a second time, but boy, I was very glad it turned out for all the work that went into it!

I started with the tart shell. I don't have a tart pan, so I just used a springform pan that I lined with foil. The crust came together quickly enough, and used both cornmeal and whole wheat pastry flour. This baked for a little while to set and then I attacked the vegetables. Not having the eggplant I planned on using double the zucchini, and then I thought of a lone piece of kielbasa in the fridge and I thought Andy might appreciate this more if it had meat in it. I roasted the zucchini and the tomatoes and assembled all the rest of the ingredients- the cheeses, basil, and at the last minute I decided to add some chopped artichoke hearts to the top. I also sauteed my onions and decided to saute the kielbasa with the onions- that worked very well.

When the roasted veggies were cool enough to handle, I began layering, and I have to admit, I wondered two things- one, I wondered if the crust would hold up, and two, I wondered if Andy would like this. This really could have gone either way. I popped the tart in the oven, made the kids their alternative dinner (because there was no way they were touching a zucchini tart) and simply waited for it to bake. It certainly smelled good while cooking, and I was looking forward to diving in and giving it a try. I served up his piece, and Andy just kind of looked at me like "uh, okay, I'll try it." One bite later though, he was impressed. Overall this was very good. I really liked the crust- it had the flavor of a cornbread from the cornmeal, and had the sandy texture of a shortbread. It also held up very well to the fillings. The fillings all melded together nicely, and I was very surprised that one slice, accompanied by a scoop of potato salad, made a very satisfying dinner.

My version of Cornmeal Crusted Roasted Zucchini Tart is very good, and I daresay, company worthy. Just make sure you have the time to devote to it, and you won't be disappointed.

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