Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Vegetable Tart

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

~Vincent Van Gogh

This tart is amazing. I mean it's the best thing I've put in my mouth in a long time.  It's simple, but done well. Many delicious ingredients conspiring on your behalf, bring you a tart bursting with fresh flavor. The pesto, homemade, full of fresh basil, spinach and garlic. The smell of which wafted through the house while cooking. Melty fresh mozzarella and fresh vegetables grilled in a grill pan on the stove really adds a smoky flavor. A fact I'm always surprised about when I use a grill pan indoors. The blistering of the tomatoes just enhances their sweetness. All sitting on  flaky puff pastry. I mean this tart is good.

Poking holes in the the puff pastry so it doesn't puff up too much.

The puff pastry is flaky and delicious.

I was so happy when I purchased this pre-sliced mozzarella! Having never used this before, I thought it would help save time, but when I saw how thick the slices were, (more for using in a Caprese Salad) I worried, until I bit into the yummy cheesy goodness.

Like I mention in the above caption, I thought what a great idea, already sliced mozzarella! Until I got it home and saw just how thick it was. Well, I did slice a few of the super thick pieces in half, but others I left that large. For me, the large mozzarella bites were the best since fresh mozzarella is a cheese I love. Even the thick pieces melt quite well.

Thinly sliced zucchini done on a mandoline. This can be also sliced thinly with a knife, or even diced small. Since you cook it before baking it on the tart, it has a chance to soften.

The thick pre-sliced mozzarella is a blessing or a curse, depending how you see it.

I used this as the sauce, it came from my freezer (I made it, then froze it. :)

I made the pesto a while back and froze it. Pesto freezes very well. You can use store bought if you'd like. Or even use tomato paste mixed with a little water and garlic. Or use olive tapanade! The options of your sauce element are endless. Just don't use something too liquidy. The puff pastry can't handle it and will turn soggy on you. 

Puff Pastry out of the oven ready to be topped

I'm lucky my husband doesn't like pesto. I got this baby all to myself. It reheats well in the oven the next day.

Meet Coco, our new pup

For those of you who follow my blog, I talked about the dog we took home on our last trip to Hood River, Oregon in my last brownie post. What I didn't mention in my post is how I practically begged to keep her to the previous owners. (I mean they had only had her for a week and a half, and who knows? It doesn't hurt to ask.) I let them know that she gets along with my dog so well they act like best friends. And that we love her so much. This dog just feels like family. I told them if they kept her we would totally understand and bring her back to them (a 3 hour ride one way, that's why it didn't happen sooner.) A few days passed, they called me and let me know WE CAN KEEP HER! YAY! I nearly jumped for joy. Such great news! She's proved to be a great and incredibly loving dog that we are so happy to call as family. Dreams really can come true.

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Summer Vegetable Tart

adapted from the Garden Vegetable Tart from Better Homes and Gardens August,2012 Issue


1 frozen puff pastry sheet (half of a 17.3 oz. package.)

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cooked already, perhaps from the night before - I didn't use all of the 2 ears, maybe 1 1/2

1 medium zucchini - thinly sliced lengthwise

1 pint cherry tomatoes - Surprisingly, I did use all of these

4 oz. thinly sliced fresh mozzarella (I probably used almost double this amount since my mozzarella was so thick, so the amount is to your taste. If you love lots of cheese, you're going to slice it a little thicker and use more, FYI.) Use enough sliced mozzarella to cover your tart.

Pesto - roughly 1/3 cup (79 ml.) - homemade or otherwise OR use 1/4 cup (59 ml.) tomato paste mixed with a little garlic, and thinned with a little water, OR use olive tapenade - I used homemade pesto like I previously mentioned

Fresh Basil - thinly sliced - (optional) - I would use this if you are NOT using pesto for the sauce. If you are using pesto, that's probably enough basil. I did not use extra basil, just wanted to mention it if you won't be using pesto.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, 220 degrees Celsius, or Gas Mark 7.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 14 inch by 10 inch rectangle. Transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. (If you don't have parchment paper, you don't need it, it just really helps transferring the tart back to a cutting surface when it's done.) Prick the pastry all over with a fork, and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until the center is set and the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and press it down with a spatula if it's too puffed up.

Now for the veg. If your corn isn't cooked already, you can microwave it wrapped in wax paper for 2 or 3 minutes. Or you can steam it, in a large pan with a steam basket and a little water, till it's just getting soft. I always cook my corn in it's husk in the oven at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, 200 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 6, for about 40 minutes.

Lightly brush the zucchini slices, tomatoes and corn with a little olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Prepare an indoor grill pan. ( I mean sure, you could grill the veg outdoors if that's how you roll.) Cook the vegetables on medium high heat till they are tender, a few minutes. I cut my cherry tomatoes in half and placed them on their backs, and cooked them just for a few minutes. The corn I had already cut off the husks so I didn't grill it, but next time I will, and the zucchini was so thin it just needed a minute or two. When that's done, set the vegetables aside. Cut the corn off the husks if you haven't already.

Spread your sauce (pesto, tomato paste mixture or olive tapenade) on the puff pastry. Add the mozzarella cheese, zucchini slices, corn, and tomatoes.

Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the puff pastry is golden brown and delicious. Top with fresh basil (if using.)


Anonymous said...

It seems very delicious thanks

Norm said...

What a great recipe! Sounds very tasty on a warm summer day.

Kirstin @ Hello Kirsti said...

yum! A perfect summer dish!

Sarah said...

Hi Melissa, congs on the new pup, just had to say! Good on you, the love in you all seems revitalised just reading about your emotions for Coco.

The Alchemist said...

Sarah, thanks so much!

Winnie said...

No need to convince me anymore - I'm going to try this tart!
Looks great and I LOVE pesto

Glad to meet Coco
I was very moved reading your last post

The Alchemist said...

Winnie -Great, I think you'll like the tart.

Thank you for the support of my blog, I didn't know the story was going to have such an impact, but Coco is really having an equal impact on us. It's amazing how animals can affect our lives.

cathy@my1929charmer said...

When I seen summer vegetable tart I had to head over, I love veggies so. This looks amazing and I wanted to pick out a slice and eat it. I will so be making this! Congrats on Coco! My fingers are crossed you’ll share your creative inspiration tonight with Sunday’s Best – sharing is a good thing!

Mary Smith said...

This looks amazing! I have most of the ingredients already so I'll give it a try.

Amber @ The Cook's Sister said...

What a fantastic tart! I love the combination of flavours and the vibrant colour of the tomatoes!

Mal said...

I love puff pastry tarts, it's a perfect quick to make meal on a weeknight. I love the topping combo you did, yum!

Mal @ The Chic Geek

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Oh ma goodness! I make a puff pastry /veggie tart that has Alouette cheese as the base, but fresh pesto sounds so amazing. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe on Mangia Mondays! I'm thrilled to find your blog and poke around at your recipes!

Deb A said...

I'm always looking for new ways to use summer veggies and this caught my eye at Melt in your Mouth. New follower too and hope you will stop by and do the same! Deb

madge | the vegetarian casserole queen said...

Love the pre-sliced mozzarella but never tried it on a pizza! Sounds delish, though!

Margo said...

This looks beautiful and delicious!

Ninchen said...

Thank you for the recipe! I saw this on Livejournal and followed the link to your blog.
I thought it looked sooo very delicious, so I decided to give it a try.
I made this yesterday, and yummyummyumm, it was sooo good!

I blogged about it as well (in German), and I linked to your original recipe. I hope that's okay?
Here you go:

- Nina

The Alchemist said...

Nina - I'm glad you liked it!

Of course it's o.k. thanks for linking back to me.

Deana said...

What a great recipe.......Thanks for linking up @CountryMommaCooks party hope to see you again tomorrow : )

Emily Thompson said...

This looks truely amazing!! I am pinning to make in the future (like tomorrow!!!) Thanks for sharing at Tasteful Tuesday! You will be featured at this weeks party!

Ali @ said...

WOW that looks so good! Puffed pastry AND pesto AND fresh mozzarella. I would be in heaven. :)

I wanted to take a moment to invite you to submit this and any other yummy recipes to my link party, Recipe Sharing Monday. Hope to see you there!