Saturday, November 20, 2010

Versatile Vegetable Tart (aka dressed up Tarte à L'Oignon)

I often read blogs that post Thanksgiving recipes before Thanksgiving and I sometimes wonder how they do that. I haven't cooked yet for Thanksgiving, how could I have a recipe with photos to share with you? But I suppose it would be somewhat useless for you, as the reader, to hear about my Thanksgiving recipes after the fact. So here is a recipe for you to consider which I made last year: a beautifully versatile vegetable tart.

I do love quiches and savory tarts and the like, but I often find that their recipes include a rather ridiculous amount of heavy cream or large amounts of cheese. I don't particularly like rich foods--I tend to find that the fatty taste gets tiring after a couple bites and you never feel good afterwards, which ruins the experience of eating--and I have a slight cheese aversion, so when I found this recipe, I was quite pleased.

This vegetable tart recipe, besides being fairly healthy and cheese-free, is also incredibly versatile. It is originally a tarte à l'oignon, but it can be made with zucchini, bell peppers, ham, or anything else you find appropriate (probably not tomatoes or pumpkin though, since their textures aren't quite right).

I actually made this with a friend last year for a potluck with his friends. Being a somewhat stereotypical male, he was not the kitchen/cooking type, so I picked this to make together since it was easy and unintimidating. Granted, I still ended up doing the majority of the work, but I think it's a good recipe if you're looking for something easy to make with a partner who is unexperienced in the cooking or baking arena.

Versatile Vegetable Tart
Adapted from André Soltner, The New York Times (October 20, 2003)

Pre-baked tart shell/pie crust
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small zuchinni, sliced (can substitute with other savory items*)
1 large egg
½ cup heavy cream
dash of salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onions and garlic with salt and pepper, stirring regularly, until they are lightly golden, caramelized, and tender (10-15 minutes). Pour off into a separate bowl. Sauté the zuchinni in the same skillet until just tender, add more oil if needed. Remove the skillet from the heat.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and cream together. Add a dash of salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Add this to the onions and garlic mixture, stirring to combine.

Fill the tart shell with the onion, garlic, and egg mixture. Top with a few slices of zucchini, arranged in some decorative pattern.

Bake tart for 25 minutes, or until the filling is golden brown and set. Serve hot, warm, or even cold.

*Other ideas: bell peppers, ham, cooked bacon, shredded chicken, shredded turkey (a great use of Thanksgiving leftovers!)

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