I recently cooked dinner for 25 people. All by myself. I know, I am crazy and I may have lost my mind in thinking I could do it alone. But amazingly I did it and survived - with only one minor slice to my finger.
I cooked dinner for a friend's 30th birthday. She rented out Cookhouse, in SF which is an amazing event space that can be rented out for dinner parties or cooking classes. It also happens to help that I teach cooking classes there so it felt easy to work in, even if it was dinner for 25. The birthday girl's husband was a vegetarian, as were some of her friends. In an attempt to make sure they had enough to eat - we were serving steak and they can’t just have salad for dinner! - I came up with this zucchini tart. I must say it is pretty darn tasty. I feel like when people order vegetarian entrees at restaurants or weddings, they are usually getting a Portobello mushroom with maybe some rice, which is completely boring. Vegetarian dishes are often just so sad. I am not a vegetarian but regardless of the food you are eating, it should be exciting and delicious and most importantly fill you up. So here is my attempt to brighten a vegetarian's day and give them all sorts of goodness. I filled a tart shell filled with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, topped with lots of zucchini. It is bright, light and totally delicious. Zucchini is in full force right now. Piling it on this tart is a great way to eat it. So the next time you are cooking for a vegetarian, pull this tart out, I promise they will thank you and won't leave hungry.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 stick of cold butter, diced
- 3 -5 tablespoons of ice cold water
- Olive oil
- 3 onions
- 1 1/2 cups Gruyere, shredded
- 2 medium sized zucchini or summer squash, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper
Begin by making the tart shell. In a food processor combine the flour and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the stick of diced butter and pulse 3 -4 times, until the butter is well incorporated but still the size of peas or an oatmeal flake. Add in 3 tablespoons of water and pulse. Check the consistency of the dough, if when pinched with your fingers, it stays together, the dough is ready. If is crumbles then add 1 more tablespoon of water, pulse, then checking consistency. You do not want your dough too wet but it should not crumble.
Once your dough is ready, form it into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. When you are ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350 F. Roll out your dough to 1/8" thick and about 12" in diameter. Roll your dough into a 9 1/2" tart shell with a removable bottom and press lightly to form. Remove excess dough that falls over the edge of the tart pan, by gently cutting it away with a knife. Cover top of tart pan with foil and pour pie weights or old dried beans on top to prevent it from rising.
Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove pie weights and foil and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
While the dough is cooking, caramelize your onions. In a large sauté pan over medium low heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onions and a large pinch of salt. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally until onions are golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
Assemble the tart by scattering cheese in the bottom of the tart shell, topping that with the shredded Gruyere then topping that with zucchini. Lightly drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and zucchini has softened.