Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sister Visit

One of my sisters is in town. We will make sauce this morning when everyone is awake and fed, but the official sister visit started last night at Mother's house. I had been wanting to try a new recipe that I knew my husband and children would not fully appreciate so I made the Zucchini Tart with Feta for my sister and mother. The recipe appeared in the May 2006 Saveur Magazine.
Zucchini Tart with Feta

1 pc Puff Pastry, Frozen -- thawed and chilled
12 sm Zucchini -- about 2 1/2 pounds trimmed
3 tbsp Butter, Unsalted
1 sm Onion -- finely chopped
10 ea Tomatoes, Cherry -- finely chopped strained in a sieve
1 cup Cheese, Feta -- crumbled
1/2 cup Cheese, Ricotta
2 tbspp Basil -- chopped
Pepper, Black -- to taste
1 Egg -- lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350. Fit pastry into a 9" x 12" baking sheet, pressing it against sides. Score around bottom inner edge of pastry (beside crease where bottom meets sides), being careful to not cut all the way through, with a paring knife. Prick bottom of pastry all over with a fork, line with a sheet of parchment paper that fits in bottom only, and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake until edge of crust begins to puff and color, about 25 minutes. Remove weights and paper. Bake until bottom is golden, 6 - 8 minutes more. Let crust cool.

Grate 4 of the zucchini on large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, toss well, and set aside to let weep for 30 minutes. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and wringthoroughlyy to remove moisture.

Meanwhile, slice remaining zucchini into 1/4" thick rounds. Working in batches, blanch rounds in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minutes. Drain and spread out on a paper towel lined sheet pan; set aside.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon out and reserve part of the butter. Add onions and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.

Stir tomatoes, half of the feta, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste into zucchini mixture. Stir in egg and spread mixture evenly in crust. Arrange zucchini rounds, slightly overlapping in rows, like tiles, on top. Bake for 15 minutes, then brush top with reserved butter. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden, 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle remaining feta over top. Cut tart into 6 squares.

This recipe is not a 30 minute quick meal, but the princess and I got it done within an hour. Much of the prep work can be done while the puff pastry is baking the first time. The tart was worth the extra steps and prep, though doubling the recipe (if you have the zucchini) is the way to go since puff pastry is usually packaged with 2 sheets. During this time of the year having a few zucchini recipes that don't taste like the same old thing is an achievement.

After we ate, we Scrabbled. Scrabble has become a sister visit tradition, especially when my older sister visits. We play friendly games with no penalties for coined words or questionable spellings. The dictionary is there to keep the game fair and the English language intact, but never for ripping points away from a player. Last night the etiquette police was called out in an attempt to dislodge a possibly off color word from a triple word score. Even at the risk of offending good taste, I stood my ground and collected my points.

In an hour or so, we will continue to garner memories, when my sister arrives to help me with my vegetables.


mull-berry said...

Isn't zucchini great? The best chocolate cake I've tasted had shredded zucchini in it. My co-worker 'fessed up when I found a green speck in her cake.

zilla said...

We like it best sauteed in garlic and olive oil!

I look forward to the time of year when everyone who planted too much wants to unload it :-)

What was the Scrabble Score?

Anonymous said...


Your sil

wisteria said...

I'm sure the cake was great, but I don't think I would like finding green specks (worms) in my chocolate.

I don't even remember the final score. It doesn't matter. My sister is sitting with me now and she has a superb number memory and she said the score was 158, 227, and 113. Of course, I won but only because of my use of slightly unseemly language.

wisteria said...

One of my favorite zucchini meals is zucchini sauteed in olive oil heavily seasoned with Kosher or Sea Salt and pepper then tossed with thin spaghetti with parmesan. Nothing better.

Becky said...

I am making that tart! I love feta cheese, and it sounds so summery.

I love it sauteed with olive oil and garlic, and served with onions that have been sauteed until they're caramelized, and then a bit of grated Romano cheese over it all. I know, I'm a pig.

(If you are making zucchini chocolate cake for squeamish types, it helps to peel it first lol)

wisteria said...

The tart is worth it! I had a few pieces left and I had tart for lunch. While the puff pastry was not quite as crunchy, the tart was delicious!

You know, peeling the zucchini for the cake is a wonderful idea. I'm looking for a recipe as we speak!
Mull-berry did you get that recipe? I am a chocoholic!