The Summer of the Zucchini Tart

Every summer has its signature dish.  It’s the one thing I find myself making over and over.  That one dish that we completely forgot about over the winter, but in the heat of summer we can’t get it off our minds. Like waking up with that song stuck in your head.  You love it but you can’t stop thinking about it until you listen to it again…as loud as possible…on repeat!   Last year was all about tomato salad, marinated in sweet balsamic and spicy raw garlic, made with what seemed like an endless supply of tomatoes from the garden. The year before, crispy zucchini fries were on the table nearly every single day.  The kids requested them cut into sticks instead of rounds and were happy to dip them in just about anything from spicy marinara to creamy ranch dressing and even ketchup.  This year it’s the zucchini tart that, though it’s requested day after day, never gets old.  I’ve come to think of it as a reliable, dear friend.  The one I call when life starts getting crazy.  On days when back to school meetings and activities start taking over the calendar, and there’s seemingly no time left to plan a menu, I find myself reassuringly thinking, Well, there’s always my zucchini tart… Because there are always zucchini on the counter.  I layer in juicy heirloom tomatoes and sweet caramelized onions, sometimes olives and usually always oregano.  In fact, if ever, by chance, my children someday write about the recipes that populated their childhood, I’m sure this summer will become known as “the summer of the zucchini tart.” (Hey, a mom can dream, no?)

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made this dish in the past few weeks and zucchini season continues to stretch before us!  Each time it’s a little different, depending on what’s sitting on the counter.  But this is my favorite variation.  I love the sweetness of the caramelized onions with the bright flavour of oregano.  Top it with the very best olive oil to really bring it to the next level.   In a tart that’s this simple, it’s those pure ingredients that make it so amazing.

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Heirloom Tomato and Zucchini Tart

This tart can be made in either a tart pan or as a free-form galette.  The recipe below is the version in the pan, but if you’re making a galette, simply roll the dough into a circle, layer in the onions, tomatoes & zucchini, leaving a 1.5 inch boarder around the edge.  Then fold the edges up around the zucchini and brush with egg to seal and brown.  Bake it on a sheet pan lined with parchment.

crust:
1  1/2 cups flour
5 TBSP cold butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp dry oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper

filling:
2 TBSP olive oil, divided (plus more for serving)
1 TBSP butter
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 green zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 yellow zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1 heirloom tomato, sliced into 6 or 7 slices
1/2 tsp dry Mediterranean oregano
salt and pepper

make crust:
Mix the flour, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Add the butter and use a pasty blender to cut it into the flour until it’s finely chopped and mixed.  Mix the water and vinegar together and add to the dough while continuing to mix with the pastry blender until the dough comes together.  Form the dough into a round disk and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate 45 – 60 minutes.

Place the chilled dough on a floured surface and roll into a round that is slightly larger than your tart pan.  Carefully transfer to the pan and gently press into place.  Trim the over hanging edges and use the timings to reinforce the sides of the tart shell.  Prick the bottom all over with a fork.  Refrigerate the crust again while you make the filling.

make filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C).  Heat 1 TBSP of olive oil and 1 TBSP of butter in a skillet.  Saute the onions over medium -low heat.  Add a pinch of salt, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized and golden brown.  Add the garlic and cook another minute or two.  Cool the onions slightly, then spread evenly into tart shell.

In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, oregano & salt and pepper.  Layer the tomato slices onto the onions and place the zucchini slices on top, alternating between green and yellow.  Bake for  35 – 40 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 15 – 30 minutes before slicing.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.  Drizzle with olive oil just before serving.

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