Monday, August 29, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart

This must be my 1008th post this summer about zucchini and summer squash, but I like to think that this one is the most dazzling of them all! Ellie Krieger's first cookbook features this vegetarian Ratatouille Tart with a cornmeal crust, and it seemed like the stars had finally aligned for me to whip it up. I had everything I needed (minus the eggplant), and I had the time to put it together.

Although the tart is easy to make, it does require a bit of time because there are a few steps. I roasted all my veggies the day before and stored them in the refrigerator until I was ready for them. I baked up the cornmeal crust early in the afternoon of the day we ate this for dinner. I let it hang out and cool on the counter after par-baking it, then I let it hang out in the fridge too.

When assembly time rolled around, it went quickly and smoothly because I had everything ready to go. The veggies went into the crust, along with a good sprinkling of cheese, and then I baked it up. It filled the house with the most amazing smells, and it turned out looking completely gorgeous!

It ended up tasting delicious, except for the crust. I'm not sure where I went wrong, but the crust turned out wet and soggy and mushy. I know that the veggies were giving off a lot of liquid; I squeezed them out over the sink before assembling the tart so they would release the excess. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. You could still eat the tart, and of course the veggie part of the thing was pretty much to die for. But maybe next time I should just roast the veggies immediately before assembling the tart? I don't know exactly, but it is definitely worth a second try because I know this tart has wonderful potential!

Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart
adapted from
makes 8 servings

For the crust:
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup whole-grain pastry flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3 Tbsp. water

For the filling:
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
Cooking spray
1/2 lb. thinly sliced yellow summer squash rounds (I used this in place of eggplant)
1/2 lb. thinly sliced zucchini rounds
1/2 lb. small tomatoes, thinly sliced (Ellie uses 3 medium tomatoes)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make the crust: 1. Combine the cornmeal, flour, and salt in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add the butter and oil and pulse about 20 times, until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Add the water and pulse until the mixture forms a loose dough.

2. Remove the dough from the processor and press into the bottom and about 1/8 inch up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a detachable rim. Press aluminum foil into the bottom and up the sides of the pan on top of the dough. Weight it down with uncooked rice or pie weights.

3. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the rice and foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Prepare the filling: 1. Heat 1 tsp. of the oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook the shallots, stirring, until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange the squash, zucchini, and tomatoes on the sheets in a single layer and brush with the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and roast the vegetables until soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Assemble the tart: 1. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Lay the squash slices on the bottom of the tart, overlapping them if necessary; cover with one-third of the mozzarella and some of the shredded basil. Add the zucchini and shallots, top with another third of the mozzarella and the remaining basil, then the tomatoes. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and all of the Parmesan.

2. Bake until the cheese is melted and the vegetables have further wilted, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes, and cut into 8 slices. Serve warm.

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