Tonight’s supper: Mediterranean vegetable and feta tart

PUBLISHED: 12:31 08 July 2020

Mediterranean Tart

Mediterranean Tart

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Recipe for homemade Mediterranean vegetable and feta tart

Rocket, Parmesan and Pine Nut salad with Balsamic GlazeRocket, Parmesan and Pine Nut salad with Balsamic Glaze

Summer is here again and what better way to celebrate than using some produce from that most sunny of climes, the Mediterranean. It is, after all, the world-renowned diet which keeps a vast populace lean, healthy and long of life.

This tart is also the perfect accompaniment to a long, lazy, weekend lunch or fulsome supper dish. Sit back, relax and open a bottle of something fresh and fruity with friends or family and let all the butterflies and bees do all the hard work. The great simplicity and ease of this tart is that the vegetables can be cooked in advance and left to chill, overnight if necessary. With the time efficient means of shop bought pastry this needn’t be an encumbrance into your leisure time, but merely help celebrate the pleasure of this most unhurried of seasons.

INGREDIENTS

olive oil

12 small sweet tomatoes

Mediterranean TartMediterranean Tart

1 red onion

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 large courgette

black olives

feta cheese

2 teaspoons tomato puree

fresh rosemary

fresh thyme

Cornish sea salt

Pepper

Puff pastry

METHOD OF COOKING

Chop the onion, peppers and courgette and place in a large baking dish, then add the small tomatoes a generous amount of chopped fresh rosemary and the leaves of a few sprigs of thyme, I tend to be a little more cautious with this herb as it can easily overpower other flavours. Another great herb to add is some fresh oregano. Salt and pepper and add two teaspoons of tomato puree to thicken up the juices and give the tart a further umami kick, then add a good glug of olive oil.

If you don’t have fresh herbs, which is a real shame given our mild Cornish climate, you could use some dried Mediterranean herbs instead. This recipe is a very basic version of this tart as such you could pimp it with some aubergine, mushrooms, artichoke or fennel. You could of course also add some salami or chorizo if you’re missing out on your meat fix. Fresh chilli, cumin, or harissa paste could be used to give it a more North African/Middle Eastern flavour. If you wish to use fresh garlic with this recipe I would add it after the tomatoes have released their juices, that way it will reduce the chances of it burning and becoming acrid.

Bake the fruit and vegetables in the oven at around 180-200 degrees Celsius for around 40 minutes or until soft, tangy and unctuous.

Roll out the puff pastry on a smooth, dry surface and make a border on the pastry by scoring with a knife two inches from the edge. Then prick the surface of the pastry, inside the border, all over with a fork, this way only the border will rise higher. Blind bake the pastry in the preheated oven, for around 10 minutes to stop the centre becoming soggy when you add the filling. Place your mix of fruit and veg inside the border of the tart and add your olives and feta cheese. An alternative is to add the olives and feta after the tart has cooked.

The brilliance of the olives is that you can add any kind you choose with added herbs, garlic, chilli, whatever your heart desires, giving an extra pungency and punch to the tart.

Place back inside the oven and cook until the pastry is golden and crispy, take out and add some further flavouring in the form of fresh herbs such as Italian or Greek basil.

A wonderful condiment to this tart is some Greek yogurt with salt and pepper, a twist of lemon and some fresh mint added.

I also find the following salad, one of my absolute favourites, is a perfect side dish to this fantastic summer lunch or supper.

Italian Salad

INGREDIENTS

extra virgin olive oil

fresh rocket

parmesan cheese

pine nuts

balsamic reduction

Cornish sea salt

Pepper

METHOD
First of all dry fry a handful of pine nuts in a non-stick pan until slightly toasted and a warm golden brown, do not burn, this will help the nuts release their aromatic essence. Put the pine nuts to one side and allow to cool.

Place the rocket in a bowl and simply dress with some good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Next add the pine nuts and some shavings of Parmesan cheese, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction or glaze. If you don’t have this just use ordinary balsamic vinegar, but as always tried to buy a good quality version. Bon Appétit!

Ewen MacDonald is a regular contributor to Cornwall Life Magazine.

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