Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how amazing this tart is. I also cannot tell you that it is a quick recipe–it took me about four and a half hours from start to finish, but it was worth every minute. It would be a great weekend recipe and a real showstopper for when you have guests or really want to impress the other people at the potluck! (I, of course, set out to make this on a typical Thursday night and was reduced to chewing lots of gum and watching bad re-runs while waiting for it to finish baking…but still, it was worth it!)
I first heard of Yotam Ottolenghi on Smitten Kitchen, where Deb made his beautiful cauliflower cake. Ever since then, I have been wanting to try the ideas of the Vegetable Genius (that is what I think should be his official title!) A few weeks ago, I bought his cookbook, Plenty, for my birthday, and this was the first recipe I chose.
I really love the smooth and rich flavor of it–it isn’t very eggy at all, since the filling is mostly heavy cream (ah, so much better for you!), and the flavor of the thyme really comes through beautifully.
I am thinking about making this tart for Thanksgiving (since I’ve sworn never to subject myself to making Pumpkin Stew in a Pumpkin again, for reasons of maintaining my sanity; delicious it may be, but much better if you have a sous chef!), but even if I don’t make the tart itself, I am definitely going to borrow this method of roasting vegetables for other dishes.
Whenever I roasted vegetables in the past, I just threw them all in the oven and then was sort of sad when some of them were overcooked. But, Ottolenghi, genius that he is, has figured out exactly how many minutes each vegetable needs, and he instructs you on when to add each of them to the mix. The result is seriously perfection.
I have to tell you, in full disclosure, that I almost ruined this dish when I was making it. I had all the veggies roasting and was about halfway through pre-baking the crust when, horror of horrors, the crust slipped out of the tart pan as I was trying to remove the beans I was using as pie weights, and it shattered into a bunch of pieces. There was a moment of panic, and the hilarious thing was that that’s when Eric walked into the kitchen. He looked heartbroken for me, but with a deranged look in my eye, I turned to him and said, “It’s okay! I’ll fix it! I’ll fix it!”
I’m sure this is the look people get in their eye when they are, I don’t know, trying to duct tape their mufflers back on (Hey, respect!), but it actually worked! I knew that even if it was a big mess, it would be a beautiful and delicious big mess, but thankfully I was able to piece it back together, and it held. Whew!
And so, sometime around 8:30pm it was finally ready, and I totally had two slices. We just finished up the leftovers, and, as I said, I am contemplating making it again…like maybe tomorrow. It’s that addictive. Hope you enjoy!
Yotam Ottolenghi‘s Roasted Vegetable Tart
Recipe from Plenty
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
about 6 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 2″ cubes
salt and black pepper
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1 small zucchini, cut into 1″ cubes
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
11 oz. pie crust dough (this one will be fine, if you don’t have a standby recipe)
8 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
4 1/2 oz. feta
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 medium eggs
1 c heavy cream
-Heat the oven to 450F. Cut tops off of bell peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a small baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and place on top shelf in oven.
-Mix the eggplant in a bowl with 4 Tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper. Spread in a large baking pan and place in the oven on the rack beneath the peppers.
-After 12 minutes, add the sweet potato cubes to the eggplant pan and stir gently. Return to the oven and roast for another 12 minutes. Then add the zucchini to the pan, stir and roast for another 10-12 minutes. At this point the peppers should be brown and the rest of the vegetables cooked through. Remove all from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325F. Cover the peppers with foil and cool, then peel and tear roughly into strips.
-Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Saute the onions with the bay leaves and some salt for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from heat, remove bay leaves, and set aside.
-Lightly grease a 9″ tart pan. Roll out the pie crust dough to a circle roughly 1/8′ thick and large enough to line the pan, plus extra to hang over the rim. Carefully line the pan with the dough, pressing it into the corners and leaving the excess hanging over the top edge. Line the dough with a large sheet of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the weights (very, very carefully!), then bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until it turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool a little.
-Scatter the cooked onion over the bottom of the crust and top with the roasted vegetables, arranging them evenly. Scatter half the thyme leaves over. Top with small chunks of both cheeses, and then with the tomato halves, cut-side up.
-Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl with some salt and pepper. Carefully pour this mixture into the tart; the top layer of tomatoes and cheese should remain exposed. Scatter the remaining thyme over the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes (Mine took more like 50 minutes), or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before releasing the tart from the pan and serving. Enjoy!