My zucchini glut is the result of an ill-thought-out grocery order two weeks ago where I ended up with 19 large, green, tasty squash. Instead of beating myself up over this, ahem, oversight, I used it as an opportunity to stretch my creativity in the kitchen. I went on to make zucchini bread , zucchini and lemon waffles, zucchini noodles, stir-fried zucchini and chargrilled zucchini. I even have some sliced zucchini in the freezer for future life as a smoothie – thanks to a helpful comment @Chloeal22 posted on my Instagram feed. Every day I wake up and look at the idle bowl of green squash and I come up with my plan for the day. Every evening, I go to sleep and my last thought is, “What am I going to make with zucchini tomorrow?” I shred it, slice it, bake it and freeze it and still it will not go away.
I might complain now, but remind me of this in a few weeks time when the long, hot, growing days of summer are well behind us and we have no more beans growing on vines. No more fresh strawberries. No more luscious July peaches. September is nearly upon us and farmers market crates from Point Reyes to Amagansett will soon fill to the brim with late season tomatoes, plums and butternut squash. The summer will be gone and our thoughts will turn to braising, stewing and melting instead of vine growing fruits and vegetables. So in the hour that remains between now and then I feel obligated to slide one more zucchini recipe onto your plate.
Tarts come in all shapes and sizes and can be fruity, sweet, savoury or meaty. They come in and out of pie shells and they come before, during or instead of main courses. Zucchini tart is no exception and falls in the savoury camp. This one combines tangy goat cheese whipped until fluffy topped with lightly caramelized zucchini all atop a light buttery crust. It works hot, room temperature or cold, is much simpler than it looks and will impress your children and your in-laws. Just three things: pie dough, goat cheese mixed with herbs and sliced zucchini.
So while my children may be so tired of zucchini they run for their rooms when they hear me enter the kitchen, and my husband might make like a labrador and covers his eyes with his hands and stick his head under the sofa, I am still enjoying the challenge of having to rid my kitchen of 19 of these summer vegetables (technically fruits but let’s not go there) without letting a single one whither and die in the refrigerator drawer like so many of their forebears have done.
I picked a round tart because that was the pan I had on hand but really the size and shape of the tart is up to you. I’d even like to try this in individual tart pans for a summer brunch. The process remains the same no matter what and even though this is technically baking, it is really okay to just consider it cooking. You can be flexible with the size, shape, even types of herbs in the goat cheese.
Embrace the end of summer and embrace your mistakes, like poor online ordering, because both make you a better person.
- 4 zucchinis - sliced evenly into slices about 1/8" thick
- 300g soft goat cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley chopped very fine
- 1/2 teaspoon basil chopped very fine
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped very fine
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- pepper - fresh cracked black pepper always preferred
- 1 portion pie or tart crust (see below)
- Preheat oven to 350F / 176C
- Roll out dough to a circle that is about 12" in diameter. Drape dough evenly over a 10" tart pan. Using the rolling pin roll over the top of the tart pan removing any excess dough. (see picture). Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with paddle blade add the goat cheese, parlsey, basil, rosemary and a pinch of salt and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper. Mix until well blended.
- Spread the goat cheese mixture into the bottom of the tart pan lined with dough. Add the zucchini in a spiral pattern starting on the outside and working your way in. Each slice of zucchini should overlap the other by at least 2/3 and keep in mind that it shrinks as it cooks.
- Brush the olive oil over the top of the spiraled zucchini and then top with salt and freshly grated black pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the zucchini begins to brown just slightly.
- The taste will be good whether you have a perfect slice or not but it certainly helps the presentation if all of the zucchini slices are the same size. I'd love to say I did those by hand but I used my new favorite appliance
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, diced
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- Put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter pieces by sprinkling around the entire bowl. Pulse about 20 times until the butter is about the size of small peas. Turn the food processor to "ON" and then add the ice water through the tube. Return to pulsing again and pulse until the pastry comes together but don't overblend.
- Place onto a well-floured surface and form into a disk about 4" side. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. Roll it onto a floured surface or a silpat sheet to desired size.