Monday, August 27, 2012
Beet, Greens and Zucchini Tart: Oxbow Box Project Part 2
I’d had a wonderful time playing with part one of the Oxbow Farm box of produce and had made a Chocolate, Apple and Zucchini Picnic Cake, but I hadn’t even touched the collard greens, romaine lettuce or delectable carrots and Chioggia beets yet! Now that dessert was out of the way, it was time to start indulging my savory mood.
Well, I got going one evening by sautéing the collard greens with garlic and chile peppers to accompany a dinner of grilled, boneless chicken thighs with pita and hummus. Usually, we scoop Israeli salad (finely diced cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley) on top of our chicken-hummus combination, but the collard greens made a super tasty variation. Another evening, for a salad potluck with a lovely group of families, I chopped the romaine lettuce and tossed it with sliced dates and a tahini-miso dressing.
I knew, though, that I really wanted to spotlight the beautiful beets and carrots in some way. Chioggia beets are glorious, showing off pretty pink and white stripes when sliced open. Their greens were lush and vibrant, and as much as I knew my chickens would rush to the back door to gobble them, they were destined for more. The carrots were stunning, purple with orange centers. This really is produce to make you swoon!
Yes, I guess I was working my way up to a tart. What else is so light yet filling for brunch or supper, always welcome on these warm days?
When making vegetable tarts, I will often scatter some cheese such as feta or fresh mozzarella on the bottom before adding the rest of the filling. For this tart, though, I chose a simple custard of eggs and milk to envelope the vegetables, letting their fresh flavors shine. Puff pastry makes an easy, flaky crust, allowing you to create a tart at a moment’s notice (if possible, try to find all-butter puff pastry).
After chopping off the carrots tops (these I did share with the chickens peeking through the screen door), I began the tart by roasting the beets and carrots. Sadly, I fully intended to add the carrots to the tart, but frankly, roasted carrots are like candy and simply too easy to nibble on if left sitting on the pan in plain sight. So yes, I do think roasted carrots would be a delicious addition and will show more restraint next time. I still had a zucchini left from the Oxbow box, though, so after a quick sauté of the greens and zucchini with chile peppers and onions, I was ready to assemble and bake my tart.
It emerged puffed and golden from the oven, tempting us with its warm scent of veggies and buttery crust. On this hot evening it made a delightful supper when served room temperature with a salad. Thank you again, Oxbow!
Beet, Greens and Zucchini Tart
4 medium beets with their greens
1 sheet puff pastry (I use Dufour), defrosted
Olive oil to drizzle
1 onion, diced
1 red jalapeno (fresno chile), diced
1 large zucchini, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the greens from the beets and set aside. Wash the beets and trim the ends. Wrap the beets in foil and seal. Place the beets in the oven and roast until softened but still firm, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the beets from the oven and set aside to cool. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
While the beets are roasting, roughly chop the beet greens and wash in a salad spinner.
Roll the puff pastry to fit the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan, trimming as needed. Prick the bottom in a few places with a fork, line the bottom with foil and cover with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Remove the foil and weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
While the pastry is baking, pour a drizzle of olive oil in a large sauté pan and warm over medium heat. Add the diced onion, jalapeno and zucchini and saute until beginning to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add the beet greens to the pan and stir into the mixture until they begin to wilt. Remove the vegetables from the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To assemble the tart, arrange the zucchini-greens mixture evenly over the bottom of the pastry. Slice the beets (I don’t bother to peel when the beets are young and fresh) in 1/4 inch slices and lay them over the veggies. Slowly pour the egg-milk mixture over, watching to be sure it does not overflow the edges of the pastry.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the tart is puffed and firm. Let cool for half an hour before slicing. The tart can be made ahead and served later at room temperature.
Oxbow Farms provided me with a complimentary box in return for sharing my experiences using their produce. All photographs and opinions are my own.