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Corn and Zucchini Tart

Lately, I’ve been a sucker for puff pastry. “Lately” being since I made my first tarte tatin at a cooking class last fall and discovered the versatility of puff pastry. And a “sucker,” because it is so easy, you can use it for a weeknight dinner. The Pepperidge Farm brand is also vegan, so it pleases everyone. And it’s great when you are entertaining—pretty enough to impress anyone, from partners to neighbors and friends.

Earlier this summer, I made a fennel and red onion tart. Following a similar method for this recipe, I used corn and zucchini, two of our quintessential summer vegetables. The cooking involves just a little planning—it takes 40 minutes to thaw a sheet of puff pastry on the countertop. While that happens, there’s plenty of time to survey the vegetable drawer, chop and sauté, season your vegetables—and then comes the fun part—architecting the tart.

For the zucchini, be sure to sauté it in a hot pan in a single layer to maximize the color on the vegetables. Too much zucchini and you’ll crowd the pan, steaming the vegetables instead of sautéing them. This also helps preserve the structure of the cut zucchini and keeps it from turning too soft.

Some tarts require little in the way of design, the fennel and red onion among them. There, with slices of both veggies sautéed and seasoned, I merely took them from pan to pastry. For this tart, I took a bit more time to layer corn, a shaving of cheese and my sautéed zucchini rounds—coins, as I like to think of them. If you want to keep your tart vegan, just omit the cheese.

Then, it’s into the oven for about 25 minutes, which is enough time to make a salad, set the table and wash the dishes. The topping options are limitless, and can be varied from savory to sweet.

Corn and Zucchini Tart

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small zucchini, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 large ear corn, kernels cut off
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 head green garlic
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
¼ cup grated cheese (optional), Romano or Fontina would work well
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the zucchini rounds and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Sauté corn and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes, until it begins to brown. Add Madeira and sauté 1 minute more, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat.

3. Place puff-pastry on prepared baking sheet. Prick dough all over with fork, leaving a ½-inch border on all sides. Spread corn over pastry inside border. Sprinkle on cheese, if using. Lay zucchini in a single layer, overlapping slightly.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Garnish with parsley. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.

Serves 8 as an appetizer, or 2-3 as an entrée.

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