Two weekends ago I had the great plan - and the stale bread - to start my Saturday with fresh made French Toast. What a cozy overture for a not so cozy rainy weekend in the Bay Area, right?
Unfortunately, drunk me decided he wants French Toast for dinner on Friday after returning from Happy Hour, so sober me was quite annoyed on Saturday morning with no real plans, only one egg, and no bacon at all to cook breakfast.
With a bunch of fresh veggies in fridge and pantry, I thought I should be able to pull off a quiche. But wait, quiche requires a bunch of eggs and cream for the custard. Both of which my fridge was utterly deprived. So I decided to switch from quiche to tarte and just leave the custard out, making the result accidentally much healthier. After a quick inventory of fridge and pantry, I wound up with a couple of zucchinis, a red bell pepper, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a selection of cheeses. And even better, I unearthed an almost forgotten treasure: Italian Porchetta, which I got at Trader Joe's for a pretty decent price and which tasted pretty damn great.
Those ingredients had Ratatouille written all over them, so I came up with this layered version of it, cooking the red ingredients down a little, searing the sliced zucchini, and adding some nice cheese and the porchetta to the mix.
In the pictures, you can see that I have sprinkled pine nuts over my tarte and that they've gotten quite dark. Too dark, actually. That's because I used already toasted pine nuts. So if you only have those, don't do it. If you have raw pine nuts, go put them on.
- For the Crust
- All Purpose Flour - 1 + 1/4 cup
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Herbs de Provence - 1/2 tsp
- Butter - 4 tbsp
- Shortening - 4 tbsp
- Water - 1/4 cup, ice cold
- For the Filling
- Asiago Cheese - 1/2 cup, shredded
- Italian Porchetta - ~6 thin slices
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, small dice
- Celery - 2 stalks, small dice
- Roma Tomatoes - 2, cut in strips
- Red Onion - 1, small dice
- Garlic - 2 gloves, minced
- Fresh Thyme - 1 tsp, minced
- Olive Oil - 1 tbsp
- Salt, Pepper - to taste
- Zucchini - 3 small, sliced at a bias
- Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
- Salt, Pepper - to taste
- Whole Egg - 1, for eggwash
- To make the dough for the tarte, mix together flour, salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Cut ice cold butter and shortening into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Rub together with your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Slowly add the ice water, not at once but just enough so the dough comes together. Kneed as little as possible, form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour while you prepare the filling.
- In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and over medium low heat sweat red onion, celery, and bell pepper. Once the onions start being translucent, add the diced tomato, herbs, salt, and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant, then take the mixture off the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and sear the zucchini slices on both sides. You'll have to do this in batches. Add salt and pepper to each batch and each side. Set aside to cool.
- Before starting to assemble the tarte, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- To assemble the tarte, roll out the chilled crust so it is large enough and fit into a 9" tarte form.
- Sprinkle half of the cheese onto the bottom of the crust.
- Arrange the Porchetta slices to form an even layer above the cheese.
- Add the bell pepper, tomato mixture and spread evenly.
- Neatly arrange the zucchini slices on top of the tarte. You can do this as fancy or rustic as you like.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the zucchini.
- Optional: Use cutoff pie crust to cut out decorative shapes for your tarte.
- Brush the crust along the border and the cutout shapes if you have them with eggwash and bake at 400° for 40 - 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking.
- Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.