I love farmer’s markets. I don’t just mean, I browse through them occasionally, I am addicted to them. Walking through the fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers, with all of the vibrant colors, fresh smells and flavor possibilities is truly a salve for my weary soul. It is my time to literally stop and smell the roses—-well more often, stop and smell the peaches, or basil or some other culinary delight—but you get the picture.My little corner of suburbia, Lee’s Summit, MO, has a small but first rate farmer’s market. It’s busy and vibrant, but not overwhelming. I walk by every vendor in just minutes, but then I go back and soak in the sights and smells, talk to the friendly folks at each booth and buy my treasures.We have been really busy and totally focused on a new project (and we will make an exciting announcement on it soon) but for now, it is fair to say that my walk in the market these last few weeks has been far too rushed and brief. This last weekend, I finally got to meander and savor it. Oh it is hard to limit my purchases to what I can honestly use in a few days—but I try. (Well, true confession, I browse farmer’s markets when I travel and can’t cook the produce—and love the memories of markets in Italy, France, and across the USA.)
This week, eggplant, tomatoes and vibrant summer squashes called to me—and this rustic tart is what they became. It was perfect for lunch on Saturday—and is so filling it could be dinner. I made a crust, using the Parmesan Herb Crust that follows, but you could use your favorite pastry recipe or a refrigerated, prepared crust. You could substitute vegetables as you find in season—maybe omitting the eggplant and adding red onion and mushrooms.
So stop and enjoy the tastes and smells of summer. It will be good for you in more ways than one.
Rustic Roasted Vegetable Tart Recipe
Pastry for a 9-inch single crust pie (see recipe below or use your favorite recipe or refrigerated crust)
1 small eggplant, about 15 oz, not peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium or 2 small zucchini or summer squash, not peeled, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 red bell pepper, halved and sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 to 3 small to medium tomatoes, halved and sliced 3/4-inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 wedge (3/4 oz) light pasteurized garlic herb flavored spreadable cheese (see tip below)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Place vegetables in a zip-lock bag. Drizzle oil over vegetables. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Seal and toss gently to coat evenly. Pour vegetables onto baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender, stirring every 10 minutes.
Place a sheet of parchment paper, about 16 to 18 inches square, on top of a board and dust the parchment paper lightly with flour. Roll the dough out to make a 14 to 15 inch circle. Gently spread the garlic herb cheese evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Using a slotted spoon, spoon all of the vegetables into the center of the crust, leaving a 2-inch rim around the edge. Sprinkle the vegetables with minced basil. Using the parchment paper to assist, fold the outer edge of the crust up over the out edges of the vegetables, leaving the center uncovered.
Discard the aluminum foil lining the baking sheet. Lift the parchment paper and crust together and place it on the baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown and crust is crisp.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve.
Makes 6 servings
Tip: The wedges of spreadable light cheese come packed as 8 spreadable cheese wedges in one 6 ounce package. As an alternative, substitute 2 tablespoons light spreadable garden vegetable or chive and onion flavored whipped, tub cream cheese
Parmesan Herb Pastry
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons water
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cheese, basil, garlic powder and salt. Pulse to combine. Add shortening and butter; pulse until butter and shortening are cut into the flour mixture and it resembles even crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons water and pulse just until it forms a ball. If needed, add the additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse again to make a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while roasting vegetables.
Roll on lightly floured board and use for the Rustic Roasted Vegetable Tart, quiche or any savory pie.
Makes 1 (9-inch) single crust pie.