Monday, September 10, 2012

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tart

Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tart
by Woo Brower

I love zucchini.  Silky sautéed, sweet and smoky grilled, grated into muffins or breads, simmered or gratineed, I love zucchini.  This summer I’ve been in love with zucchini ribbons.  Thinly sliced and salted, the raw ribbons become pliant and tender.  I’ve been adding them to salads.  I’ve been wrapping them around cheese fillings.  One of my friends uses zucchini ribbons in place of pasta.  Actually she’s the one who got me hooked on raw zucchini ribbons (yeah, you Mandy). 

Today I decided to make a squash tart.  Well, I should say I decided to make a tart because I found a foil wrapped packet in the freezer which turned out to be a lonely sheet of puff pastry.  AND because my friends in 37 Cooks have been engaged in a pie challenge.  I love pies.  A Dutch apple pie is my absolute favorite pie, but it’s not apple season yet. And I’d rather use something seasonal.  And knock out a meal while I’m at it.  So a savory tart came to mind.  Plus, I like the word “tart.”  It’s a noun, an adjective, and a verb!  Hussy, trollop, ho.  Sour, sharp, acidic, attitude.  Get gussied up, flirt about and around.  Wait, sorry, what was I saying?  Oh yeah, the tart:

1 small onion
splash of balsamic vinegar (about a TBS or two)
2 cloves of garlic finely minced, divided
1 medium zucchini with a nice uniform shape
     sliced into ribbons on a mandoline
1 medium yellow squash with a uniform shape
     sliced into ribbons on a mandoline
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1/3 cup of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup goat cheese
1 TBS finely grated parmesan cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1 sheet of puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm)
olive oil for sauté
salt and pepper to taste

Slice onion and sauté with a little olive oil and garlic over medium heat.  Allow onion to caramelize, season with salt and pepper.  Deglaze with a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Continue to cook until vinegar is reduced and onions are evenly glazed.  Remove onions from heat and set aside to cool.

On a clean, lint free kitchen towel or large, clean cutting board, lay out the ribbons of squash in a single layer.  Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.  Set aside for 30 minutes to allow salt to draw moisture from the squash.  After 30 minutes blot up the moisture with paper towels or clean cloth.  I needed 5 ribbons of zucchini and 6 ribbons of yellow squash to make the lattice top.  The number of ribbons you’ll need will depend on the squash size and shape. 

With the remaining squash and zucchini, finely dice or slice into matchsticks, sauté with olive oil and garlic, season with a pinch of fresh thyme and a bit of ground pepper.  Remember it’s already been salted so taste before adding additional salt.  Set aside to cool.

Beat 1 egg and set aside about 1 TBS of egg.  To the remaining egg, stir in ricotta and goat cheese until well combined.  Add a pinch or two of fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

To the set aside 1 TBS of egg mix in 1 tsp of water.  This is the glue and the glaze for the tart shell.

Spread the goat cheese mixture into the cooled tart shell.  I had a tad of filling left.  I was really tempted to make it all fit, but refrained since I had no idea what would happen.  Add a layer of caramelized onions and sautéed squash.  (Again, I had a bit of both left over so I planned on throwing the leftover filling into an omelet or frittata.)  Weave the squash lattice top.  Trim ends to fit.  The squash ribbons will shrink slightly during the baking so do not trim too perfectly.  I did the weaving ahead of time with the best shaped ribbons, set aside during the rest of the prep, and transferred the top with a large spatula.

Bake entire tart at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  Shield crust edges with foil strips for the first 15 minutes then remove to allow edges to get golden brown.  Remove to wire rack to cool. 

Serve with a few drops of port reduction, red wine syrup, or balsamic reduction. 
Pair with a green salad for an elegant and delicious lunch or light dinner.
Serves 2


  1. Woo, that looks amazing! And I Love listening to you.
    I need that tart, now.

  2. I love making squash ribbons, such a great alternative to a bowl of pasta. I love the salty feta addition!

    1. Feta would be great, too! I love how squash is so compatible with the tangy cheeses and sour creams like crème fraiche or yogurt. Thank you for commenting! The photos on your site are lovely.