In Season: Tomatoes and Zucchini

July 18, 2012.

Here it is, the inaugural edition of In Season! And I think it’s especially fitting that the first edition focuses on tomatoes and zucchini because if you have a garden, shop at a farmers’ market or visit a local produce stand, then you know ’tis the season for tomatoes and zucchinis (especially zucchinis, right now).

While options are seemingly endless for cooking with tomatoes (zucchini, not so much), one of my favorite ways to combine them together is in a tomato and zucchini tart. I love this tart for its rustic simplicity, yet it’s so versatile.

Just make up a batch of pâte brisée, roll it out into a tart pan, and while it blind-bakes for about 30 minutes, carmelize some onions, lightly sauté the zucchini in olive oil, add some herbs (I like to use thyme and rosemary), choose a cheese (ricotta, goat, Gruyère or parmesan are nice, to name a few), slice the tomatoes and then layer them all together in the tart shell once it has blind-baked. Bake for about 10-15 more minutes and there you go. Really, it’s that easy. A tasty appetizer for a party, a delightful summer’s lunch or dinner al fresco with a nice green salad and a glass of rosé. The beauty of this tart is you can make the dough in advance (it will last three days in the refrigerator or up to a month frozen), then simply mix and match ingredients at will. No matter what combinations I’ve come up with, this tart has always worked out wonderfully for me.

If you need additional inspiration or want specific instructions, here are some recipes you might enjoy:

Bon Appetit’s Roasted Tomato and Herb Tart recipe calls for first oven-roasting a mix of heirloom and plum tomatoes and lots of garlic cloves. Sounds good to me.

If nothing else, this Heirloom Tomato and Lemon Mascarpone Tart from Food52 is gorgeous. I adore the color mix of the different heirloom tomatoes and the basil pesto drizzled on top. The use of mascarpone is intriguing. I’m putting this one on my list of recipes to try.

Leave it to Martha Stewart to make a unique tomato tart. In her recipe for Tomato Tart fontina cheese is the unexpected choice. This Zucchini Tart recipe looks interesting with its quiche-like qualities, though I’m on the fence about the phyllo dough.

And one other recipe you might be interested in (but, there are gobs more out there in the interwebs, magazines, cookbooks – you just have to look): Summer Squash and Ricotta Galette from Serious Eats.

So, go. Make a batch of pâte brisée (it takes all of about 15 minutes, plus resting time in the refrigerator), get some tomatoes, grab a zucchini, rifle around in your cheese drawer and tart away!

(Editor’s note: Numerous recipes I came across call for frozen puff pastry as the tart base. Unless you’re really into store-bought puff pastry, I think you would be safe in substituting the pâte brisée for the tart base. Some modifications to cooking time and other instructions might be necessary, but I’d give it a try anyway.)

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