Did you hear about the carrot detective?

He got to the root of every case.

As a hardcore omnivore, who occasionally strays into vegan and vegetarian territory, I have to say that I love veggies. A lot. I have spinach in my smoothies almost every morning. I would eat broccoli and brussel sprouts and more spinach for almost any meal. I eat bell peppers like most people eat apples.

I love veggies.

When the chance came to make a vegetarian entree for a party, I jumped on it…and then immediately regretted that decision. It’s hard to cook for strict vegetarians. In my personal experience, they have such a finicky palate. Many, not all, of the vegetarians I know are more carb-and-dairy-itarians–not so much with the veggies, much more with the cheese and bread. Who am I to judge what they eat. If you like it and you and your body are happy and healthy, then great.

But, I knew that the dish I wanted to make needed to have ingredients that I found satisfying: carbs, dairy, protein…basically a complex and complete meal. I knew I wanted veggies and cheese and a crust. I had been seeing all sorts of beautifully constructed rose apple pies, and through I would create a veggies version.

I had seen a few recipes of similarly constructed veg rose tarts and decided to create one of my own, with flavors that I thought would go great together. That were savory and intense and satisfying.

This is what I came up with. I didn’t get many pictures of the assembly, just the finished product. It’s not as difficult as it looks, but it is still super impressive. And delicious. The crust is wonderfully flaky–just make sure to chill it before rolling it out, and before baking it. I also highly suggest weighing the ingredients if you have a scale. It really does make a difference.

I also have a funny story about this dish. When I posted it to my instagram account, I called it a galette, since that is what similar recipes around the web had called it. One of my best friend’s mother commented saying that “Galette means waffle, in French” and then asked what I had made. So, I have called it a tart. Because it seems more accurate. She is Belgium, and, admittedly, this is what they call a galette…so I can understand our difference in word choice. waffleTechnically a galette, in French, is meant to refer to a sort of free form crusted pastry or cake. So, my tart could qualify. But, I am just going to call it a tart, because saying ‘tart’ is fun, and because it is a bit more accurate in terms of it being an open, filled pastry.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Eggplant Tart

veggie tartIngredients

Pastry

6oz of plain white flour
pinch of salt
3 oz of butter, chopped into small pieces
1/4 c cold water
beaten egg white (optional, if you want your crust to be  shiny and browned)

Cheese filling

2oog of mozzarella
200g of ricotta
1/2 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of dried sage
pinch of oregano
a sprig of rosemary

Vegetable filling

1 medium zuchinni, top and bottom stalk removed
1 medium eggplant, top stalk removed
2-3 peeled carrots
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

  1. Make the pastry. Place the flour into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. (I used two forks to achieve this consistency.)
  2. Take a fork and add just a few drops of water to bring the mixture into a more consistent ball of pastry.
  3. Wrap the ball of pastry tightly in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for at least thirty minutes.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Grease a 9 inch flan tin with butter. Once the pastry has rested, place it on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it into an 11 inch circle. Carefully place the pastry into the tin and rest in the fridge for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Take the pastry out of the fridge, and gently prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill it baking beads, or dried beans. This stops the pastry from puffing up while you pre-bake it.
  6. Place it in the oven and blind bake for 15-20 minutes. It should be barely golden. Once it is, remove from the oven and leave to cool and set.
  7. For the filling, break up the mozzarella into small pieces and mix with the ricotta. Beat well with a wooden spoon, and then stir in the seasonings. You can add more seasoning if you like. This base works well for a lot of different flavors. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables
  8. Meanwhile, using a mandolin / slicer/ sharp knife – cut the vegetables into thin strips. I suggest slicing the zucchini in half, the eggplant into 4 quarters, and the carrots in half. Make sure to slice the veggies so that they are in long strips, or ribbons. This makes the tart easier to assemble, and makes it aesthetically pleasing.
  9. Once you have the veg all sliced,  lay them flat and season with salt and pepper.
  10. To assemble the tart, remove the baking beans and paper, and spread the cheese filling evenly into the base of the tart shell.
  11. Working around the outside edge and working in, start layering the veggies around the tart, on the thin edge, so that they are sticking up, almost over the side, rather than laying down flat.
  12. I started with a layer zucchini, a layer of eggplant, and then a layer of carrot. Work your way around and around, in the same pattern, until you fill the entire tart shell.
  13. Brush the top of the veg with olive oil. Place in the still heated (350) oven for 40-50 minutes until the veggies have softened. If the tops are getting too browned, cover with tinfoil and continue cooking.
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