Vegetable Tart With Gruyere

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Vegetable Tart With Gruyere

I made this Vegetable Tart With Gruyere the first week of a professional cooking series at the Zona Spray Cooking School in Hudson, Ohio. I was amazed at the flavor.

Zona, who is now retired, would offer suggestions to enhance the flavor (she loved adding cayenne to just about everything), but often told us good cooking techniques are important to learn. Knife skills were part of her educational arsenal because they are techniques we all use every day.

Preparing the Crust

The crust is blind baked, which really just means pre-baking. Place the crust into a nine-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork, line it with parchment paper, place pie weights (or dry beans) on top of it and bake for about 10 minutes or until the crust is almost set.

Once out of the oven, remove the weights and parchment paper and brush a light layer of Dijon mustard onto the bottom of the crust. It adds a hint of extra flavor and fills the holes left from pricking the crust. If you don’t have Dijon mustard, any brown mustard will work.

The Knife Work

This recipe is a great one for honing your knife skills. One tip I always give my students when teaching knife skills is to place your cutting board close to the edge of your counter or table so that you are not stretching to cut your food. And, let the knife do the work. If it is the right knife for the job and you are holding it correctly, the rest is almost effortless.

With the cutting board in position, dice the onion and celery with a 7″ Santoku knife.

Dicing celery with a Santoku.

They are cooked for a few minutes along with some oil, butter and herbs, and then set aside. They make up the first layer of the tart filling.

The next layer is made up of julienne zucchini and carrots. To cut them into matchstick size, also use the 7″ Santoku.

Using the Santoku to cut the zucchini and carrots.

The julienne zucchini and carrots are blanched to help them retain their color, before being placed on the tart.

For step-by-step instruction on how to julienne a carrot, take a look at Cutco's easy tutorial.

Assembling the Tart

Once the crust is baked and the filling and savory custard are done, it’s time for assembly. First spoon the onion and celery mixture onto the crust, followed by the zucchini and carrots.

Layering the zucchini and carrots by hand.

Pour the custard mixture over the vegetables and finish everything off with Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake at 375 F until the filling is set, the pastry is slightly puffed and the top is brown. You can serve this Vegetable Tart With Gruyere hot or warm. Cut into pieces with a Spatula Spreader, serve, and wait for the compliments to roll in.

I love this recipe. My husband and I often joked that this is one of those dishes that will call you back to the kitchen in the middle of the night. It’s that good!

Vegetable Tart With Gruyere

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Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 ready-made pastry crust
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

For the filling:

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of dried thyme
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned

For the savory custard:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

For the tart:

  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choosing (chives, parsley, basil, etc.), chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a nine-inch removable bottom tart pan with the pastry crust, prick the bottom with a fork, line with parchment paper and pie weights (or dry beans). Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is almost set. Remove from oven, remove paper and weights.
  3. With a silicone pastry brush, spread the Dijon mustard over the crust in a light layer – just enough to cover the bottom. This will add a hint of extra flavor and also fill the holes from pricking the crust.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F, return the crust to the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until the crust is dry.
  5. Remove crust from oven and cool. Leave oven on at 375 F.
  6. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and oil and heat over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery, cover the saucepan with parchment paper and cook for a 2 to 3 minutes. Add a dash of salt to bring out the juices, followed by a dash of dried thyme. Set aside once cooked.
  7. Blanch and refresh the julienned zucchini and carrot, draining immediately so the vegetables do not become water-logged. Dry the vegetables by wrapping in a towel.
  8. To make the custard, whisk the eggs, add the cream and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Whisk until combined. Set aside.
  9. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet.
  10. Assemble the tart by layering the onion and celery mixture in the bottom of the tart crust. Follow with a layer of the prepared and dry julienned vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and sprinkle the fresh herbs of your choosing evenly over the vegetables.
  11. Pour the custard mixture over the vegetables. Top with the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses.
  12. Return the tart on the rimmed baking sheet to the 375 F oven, placing it on the lower rack of the oven. Bake until the filling is set, the pastry is slightly puffed, and the top is brown.
  13. Remove from oven and allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes. Unmold tart and place on cooling rack.
  14. Serve warm or room temperature.

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