My husband, Alex, and I have been writing a food blog, Bungalow Kitchen, for more than a year now, and one of our goals is to eat as seasonally as we can.
Theres nothing better than a ruby red tomato in July or a butternut squash in November, and thats because its in season.
As Georgians, we are particularly lucky that we live in an area of the United States where farmers can grow produce year round due to our temperate climate, so we should most certainly take advantage of it.
Alex and I will take turns sharing seasonal recipes with you, and as the seasons change, so will the featured ingredients.
If you have ever had too much zucchini and yellow squash hanging around your kitchen and you would like to do something other than squash casserole or roasted vegetables, this recipe is for you.
Early summer is peak time for both of these squash varieties, and during this time youll notice that the colors of the vegetables get brighter and deeper.
I encourage you to buy zucchini and yellow squash from your local farmers market, such as Mulberry Street Market on Wednesdays, from a local CSA (community supported agriculture) farmer such as the Dirt Farmers or Babe and Sage Farm, or even from a roadside vendor.
The shapes and sizes of these varieties vary greatly from farmer to farmer, but are more uniform at the grocery store.
While squash is a staple in Southern food because of its plentiful existence in our region, its not usually seen as a show stopper. This vegetable is usually hidden in a cream-of-something-soup-with-crackers-on-top type of forgotten side dish. I say its time to flip the switch and create a styled squash thats fit for any backyard barbecue or summer cocktail party.
This Squash and Zucchini Savory Tart is visually appealing and will impress your fellow partygoers with your innovative use of seasonal bounty and stylized presentation. Pro tip: its also very easy to make!
Squash and Zucchini Savory Tart
1 puff pastry sheet (I use Pepperidge Farm, check your grocers freezer) (see note)
2 medium-sized zucchini
2 medium-sized yellow squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces soft goat cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Note: The night before you make the tart, place the puff pastry sheet in its package into the refrigerator to allow the sheet to thaw.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle your countertop with a pinch of flour, then roll out the puff pastry with a rolling pin.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the rolled-out pastry sheet on the parchment paper. Create a crust by turning over the edges of the sheet about 1/2 inch, then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork to seal the crust.
Lightly cut a few lines in the pastry sheet, but not all the way through. This creates a vent for the pastry so that it will not puff up too much in the middle. Bake for about 8 minutes; remove from the oven.
While the puff pastry is baking, cut off the ends of the squash and zucchini, then halve them lengthwise. Thinly slice each into half moons and set aside.
Once that the puff pastry is out of the oven, create five alternating columns of vegetables: zucchini, squash, zucchini, squash, zucchini.
Now, create another row, this time changing the order so that the column that started with a squash has a piece of zucchini.
Follow this pattern and complete each column. Be sure to overlap the squash and zucchini, but allow each bright green or bright yellow edge to be seen.
When all of the columns are complete, lightly sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper. Place in the hot oven for about 5 minutes.
Take the tart out of the oven and turn on the broiler. Evenly arrange the goat cheese in large sections over the tart and place under the broiler for about 4 minutes. While the cheese is slightly melting, stack up all of the basil leaves, roll them tightly like a cigar, then thinly slice them into ribbons. This method is called chiffonade, and its an easy and beautiful way to use herbs for garnish.
When the 4 minutes are up, take the tart out of the oven, remove the cookie sheet and parchment paper, and top it with the basil ribbons. Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then cut into squares.
Alex and Eleta Morrison live in Macon and write a food blog, Bungalow Kitchen. Like their page on Facebook for updates and visit their blog at bungalowkitchen.wordpress.com. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.