If you gave the Lazy Cook a couple of zucchini and some cherry tomatoes, she might just eat them as crudités, but the Crazy Cook here has a much more ambitious and delicious idea. This Provencal vegetable and goat cheese tart is the ultimate in savory spring-time flavors. I love this because it’s both light and rich at the same time. Imagine sauteed zucchini and onions topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, all baked on a bed of happy, tangy, creamy goat cheese resting on crispy, light-as-air puff pastry. Sounds good, oui? With a little green salad on the side and a glass of good, buttery Chardonnay or a bright Sauvignon blanc, it’s one of my favorite dinners. Plus, it’s vegetarian. And as an extra bonus, left-overs are great chilled or at room temp for a take-to-work lunch of which your office mates will be v. jealous.
All you need is one sheet of frozen puff pastry, two zucchinis, an onion, a bit of olive oil, some cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, pesto and some green olives. This is adapted from a Bruce Sherman recipe in the July 2007 issue of Food & Wine, and one of the best things about it is its versatility – you could top it with anything, from zucchini and tomatoes, to asparagus, peppers, broccoli – pick your favorite veg combo.
What You Do:
Preheat oven to 425F and make sure your goat cheese is at room temp so it’s soft and easy to spread onto the pastry.
1) Heat 2 Tbls. olive oil in a large skillet (one with a lid). Add sliced zucchini and onion and salt and pepper to taste. Saute for about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and put the hat on, so everything gets nice and tender (but not mushy).
2) Meanwhile, dump your little log of goat cheese (I use a 4- or 5-ounce package) into a dish and add about 2 Tbls pesto. If you don’t have pesto, just use herbed goat cheese and skip the pesto. Mash it all about until the pesto is incorporated.
3) Now, take your puff pastry and unfold it straight onto a piece of parchment paper or a Silpat silicone baking mat. Roll it out a bit to a 13-inch square, and transfer it on the parchment or mat to your baking sheet. Prick the dough all over with a fork like so:
4) Now, with the back of a spoon, spread your goat cheese mixture onto the dough, up to about an inch from the edges.
5) Top with your delicious sauteed zucchini and onion mixture, spreading it into a mostly single layer.
and then top with sliced cherry tomatoes. Turn up the edges and pinch the corners together with your fingers.
6) Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the edges are a delicious golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped green olives for a little extra ZING, slice and enjoy. Makes four generous, entree-sized servings, but you could also make smaller slices for an appetizer or cocktail treat. Happy spring and bon appetit!