Tomato, Potato, and Zucchini Tart
I wanted to make something not Italian for the tomato round, partly because I'm not Italian and partly because - well, obviously tomatoes aren't Italian, but they're used in so many Italian dishes that doing a non-Italian dish was a bit of a challenge.
So we're making tomato, potato, and zucchini tart.
- 1 1/2 cups flour (I used all-purpose spelt flour)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 to 4 tbsp (approx.) ice water
- OR 1/2 lb. pre-made unsweetened pie crust, if you absolutely must
- 1 lb. new potatoes, skins on
- 2 zucchini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. meaty tomatoes - Roma and beefsteak seem to work best
- 150g or 1/3 lb. grated Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- One or two sprigs of fresh oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A pinch of ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup creme fraiche
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
If you can't buy creme fraiche, you can replace it with half cream cheese and half sour cream, but in truth it's much cheaper to make your own.
You have to start the fermentation at least 24 hours before you need the finished creme. For every cup of heavy cream, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Pour the cream into a jar or Tupperware container with a tight lid and add the buttermilk. Cover the mixture, shake it up, and place it somewhere where it can sit for 24 hours or so at room temperature in a dark corner. The fresher and more active your buttermilk, the faster your cream will turn into creme fraiche.
Once the cream has thickened, either use immediately or refrigerate it. Once it's ready, it will look roughly like this:
For this recipe, you will need one cup of creme fraiche.
Boil the potatoes until almost done. Let cool completely.
Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender.
Add ice water slowly until dough holds together. Knead for about 30 seconds, or only long enough to make sure everything's combined. Let dough sit in the fridge, covered, for about an hour.
Roll out the dough into a circle about 13 inches or 32 cm around. Butter the inside of a 9 inch or 23 cm deep tart pan and line it with the dough.
With a fork, prick little holes into the bottom of the dough. Preheat the oven to 200C or 400F.
Line the dough with foil, parchment paper or heatproof baking paper, and fill the pan with baking stones, rice, or beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and rice and return the pan to the oven for five minutes more.
Reduce your oven temperature to 180C or 350F.
I don't have a pet so here's a picture of some pretty flowers I bought today at Safeway.
Here is well over one pound of tomatoes. God I love September. Anyway, you want to get rid of the blossom end and the stem ends, especially if you're using beefsteak tomatoes. You also probably want to peel them. You do that by pouring boiling water over the tomatoes to loosen the skins. I only needed one and a half of these tomatoes.
Here they are peeled. Oh the horror - N.W.S. tomatoes. Avert your eyes, Pat Robertson! Anathema! Anathema!
Use your finger or a spoon to pull out the seeds. Let them drain on a rack over the sink for a few minutes.
Slice the zucchini, potatoes, and tomatoes thinly. Roughly chop the basil; remove the oregano from its stalks and chop roughly.
Saute the zucchini on both sides over medium heat in the olive oil until it's just brown. Let them cool a bit until you can handle them.
Beat together the eggs, creme fraiche, and milk. Add a bit of pepper, salt, about 2 grates of fresh nutmeg (or a pinch of ground), half the Swiss cheese, and half the parmesan.
Layer the vegetables in the tart in this order: potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes. Sprinkle each layer with salt, pepper, a bit of Swiss cheese, basil, and oregano.
Here it is fully layered.
Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. DO NOT almost drop it as it's going in the oven. Bake at 180C or 350F for 45 minutes or until the mixture is firm to the touch. Let cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.
Fresh from the oven.
A slice, plated (edited because my first image was too fuzzy for my tastes) and served with salad and something (_i_) really needs about now: