Tuesday, August 7, 2012

roasted red pepper and tomato tart.

We are nearing the final stretch of summer and I feel as if I have yet to accomplish everything I planned on doing and making.  I had visions of weekends spent hiking and swimming.  I thought most evenings would have been spent outdoors with friends - our bellies filled with crusty homemade bread and sparkling wine.  I envisioned subway trips to the outer boroughs where the boy and I would feast on cheap ethnic foods and bottles of cold beer.  Alas, I have not done all of these things which leaves me feeling as if the summer has escaped me but, I am making a conscious effort over the next couple of weeks to try and fulfill a couple more of my summer goals.   I have an ever-growing list of things I wanted to cook this summer one of them being a savory tart and this past weekend seemed like the perfect time to make it. 

Savory summer tarts are a wonderful thing.  They are sturdy enough to handle being transported on picnics and they can be filled with any variety of seasonal ingredients.  I love eating them for dinner with a side salad and a glass of rose.  For a while now I have had visions of a roasted red pepper tart and since red peppers finally appeared at the farmers market last week, it seemed like I had my opportunity make one.  I roasted the peppers until their skins were charred and then I removed the skins and cut the peppers into strips.  I decided on a crust that was made with olive oil instead of butter and that crust seemed like the perfect vehicle for a filling of ricotta and goat cheese, which I blended together with a plethora of herbs.  The filling was topped with the strips of red pepper and cherry tomatoes and the whole thing was baked until the tomatoes burst. The result was both beautiful and delicious.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Tart
Makes one 8 – 9 inch tart

This olive oil tart crust is my new favorite thing.  It is a cinch to make, tastes amazing and is the perfect vehicle for all sorts of vegetables.  I have a couple of other filling recipes in mind that I will happily share!

Recipe adopted from Chocolate and Zucchini

166 grams light whole wheat flour, or a 50/50 mix of all pupose and whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ teaspoon dried herbs
40 ml olive oil (or the oil of your choice)
80 ml cold water

Combine the flour, salt, and herbs in a medium mixing bowl.  Add the oil and mix with a fork.  Add the water, mix with a dorm until it is absorbed, then knead slightly until the dough comes together in a ball. 

Turn the ball out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Sprinkle a little flour on the ball of dough and on the rolling pin and roll the dough out into a circle large enough to fit your tart pan.  Turn the dough by 45 degrees every time you roll the pin and back, adding a little more flour underneath and on the dough when it seems on the verge of becoming too sticky.  Be quick to avoid overworking the dough. 

Transfer the dough carefully to a prepared pan and line it neatly.  Trim the excess dough, and place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. 

For the Filling

2 medium red bell peppers (you can use store bought peppers but not as good!)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1 cup goat cheese
1 tablespoon chopped basil
2 teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cherry tomatoes halved

For the peppers: Turn the oven to 400 degrees and place the peppers on a baking sheet.  Roast, turning occasionally, until the peppers blacken and blister on all sides, about 20 minutes.

Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a medium heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle and the skins easily peel away, about 30 minutes.

Remove and discard the skins, seeds, and membranes of the peppers. Slice into 1/2-inch-thick strips (you should have about 1 cup), transfer to a small bowl, and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you turned if off after making the peppers (or lower it if you didn’t).

For the filling: Place the ricotta, goat cheese, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper in the clean bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until the mixture is smooth and combined, about 1 minute.

Remove your tart from the fridge and add the ricotta mixture to the shell, spreading it into an even layer.  Arrange the red pepper slices and tomato halves over the mixture.  Place the tart in the oven and bake until the tomatoes begin to burst and the cheese is golden brown about 20-25 minutes.  Remove the tart from the oven and cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

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