Farmers' market vegetable tart

Using local ingredients gives this tart a homegrown feel, especially with the many vegetable and cheese options available from summer farmers' markets. The Parmesan and thyme in the crust are the perfect complement to the fresh flavors of the vegetables. 

The Runaway Spoon
This tart's bright vegetables and savory cheese combination makes it as beautiful as it is delicious.

I think this tart is the very picture of summer farmers' market bounty. It uses all the best local summer produce with fresh herbs and salty cheese. I even use locally produced goat feta. You can buy the vegetables for specifically for this magnificent tart or make it with the remnants of a big shopping haul.  It looks like a work of art, simply because of the bounty of nature.

I like to vary the vegetables to get the beautiful colors – green zucchini, yellow squash, red tomatoes and peppers, purple eggplant and onions. Vary it up according to your tastes and what is growing. Thyme is a wonderful complement to hot weather vegetables, but oregano or marjoram work as well, or you could add some basil or parsley to the cooked vegetables.

And it is perfect summer cooking. You can make it in easy stages and have the final product ready hours before popping it in the oven. It is good fresh and hot, but still delicious as it cools to room temperature. It makes a great meal on its own, or can be a side to grilled meats.

Farmers' market vegetable tart

 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 small eggplant
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 small red onion
2 plum tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 egg

1. Pulse the flour, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves together in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the texture of fine meal. If you pinch a little between your fingers, it should stick together. Add 1/4 cup of water and pulse until the dough starts to come together, then slowly drizzle in the remaining water just until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it out into a flat disc. Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut all the vegetables into bite size chunks and place on a baking sheet. Cut the onion into small wedges and add to the pan, then cut the tomatoes into chunks and add. Peel the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Drizzle over the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and about 1/2 teaspoon of thyme leaves. Toss everything together with your hands until the vegetables are lightly coated with oil. Don’t be tempted to add lots of oil – the vegetables will not be lovely and roasted, but soggy. Roast for 30 – 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft and slightly browned. Leave the vegetables to cool, then toss with the crumbled feta.

3. Take the pastry out of the fridge and let rest for about 10 minutes. Trace a circle about 14-inches round onto a piece of parchment paper (I frequently trace an outline of the platter I am going to serve on). Lightly flour the parchment paper and transfer the chilled dough disk to the paper. Lightly sprinkle the top with flour and roll the dough into a circle the size you’ve traced on the paper. Pile the vegetables into the center of the dough, leaving about a 2-inch border. Carefully fold the dough up around the vegetables. Use your fingers to press together any creases or breaks of in the dough. Carefully transfer the tart on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon Parmesan over the top and some thyme leaves. Beat the egg with a splash of water and brush a thin layer over the crust. The tart can rest in the fridge for a few hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Bake the tart until the pastry is cooked through and golden, about 30 minutes. Let the tart rest for a few minutes before slicing, though it is also delicious at room temperature.

Related post at The Runaway Spoon: Flamiche (Belgian Leek, Goat Cheese and Bacon Tart)

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