I’m a big fan of ratatouille. No, I’m not talking about the movie, although I do enjoy watching that cute little rat cook! I’m referring to the traditional French stew made from delicious summer vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant. Other items are thrown in there as well – typical additions include sweet bell peppers, garlic, and onion. Then there are the offshoots of traditional ratatouille that exist in different cultures, such as the addition of capers and celery in Sicily, or the accompaniment of a fried egg in Spain. Ratatouille and its components have endless possibilities – the only thing I believe is essential is the freshness of the ingredients. If you’re working with fresh, seasonal produce, you really can do no wrong.
That’s why this time of year is best for creating a Ratatouille tart. The effortlessness of this dish and the ease with which it is crafted makes this tart a perfect addition to your dinner table. The ingredients are simple: a tomato, an eggplant, a zucchini and two types of squash. Go out and purchase a box of frozen puff pastry and then all you need now is salt, pepper, and olive oil. If you’d like to elevate the dish, sprinkle some feta cheese on top after the tart has cooled. I considered it, but I truly enjoyed the rich flavors of the vegetables so much that I chose not to add anything else.
I chose to go with the simplest of preparations, both to showcase the bold flavors of the vegetables and to include this recipe as another of our CFM Savers. This tart can be made by spending just a few dollars at the farm market, yet I guarantee it will look and taste as delicious and amazing as if you’d bought it from a gourmet grocery store.
Here is the run down of the ingredient costs:
|Costata Romanesco Squash
|TOTAL MARKET COST:
||TOTAL COST OF USED INGREDIENTS:
||COST PER SERVING:
~Average cost was determined by taking the price of the item at each vendor and dividing by total vendors who sell this item
~Total cost includes only farm market ingredients
~Serving size: 18 (It is really up to you how you want to cut the tart, depending on how many people you’d like to serve and whether you are serving it as an appetizer or a side dish. Honestly, it’s so yummy, it could easily be shared between 4 people!)
Before I share the recipe with you, I would like to take a moment to talk about the striped zucchini, which I found at the table of goodies at Young Harvests. This is the time of year when Rob, the wonderful owner and farmer of Young Harvests, brings us an amazing bounty of produce, varying from his standard mixture of greens and herbs, to red skin potatoes, to all different types of squash, peppers, and tomatoes. It’s so much fun to watch the items come and go, to have the sense of “get ‘em while he’s got ‘em!” I love walking up to his table to see what fresh produce he’s brought to us this week. That is how I found myself staring at the beautiful striped squash, wondering if I could somehow incorporate it into my life. I later found out this was called a “Costata Romanesco” squash. As this recipe only calls for half of one, I sliced the other half, tossed it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and threw it into a pan for a few minutes. I’m telling you, this is no ordinary squash. It’s a must try for anyone who likes to challenge traditional flavor profiles.
Enough rambling about squash. Here is the recipe:
*Try to obtain zucchinis, squash, eggplant, and tomatoes with similar diameters for a more even look to your tart.
Make sure to leave the frozen puff pastry out to thaw at least 3 hours before you begin this recipe.
Preheat your oven to 375°. Remove sheet of puff pastry from the box and lay on a surface sprinkled with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll pastry to the size and shape of a standard half-sheet pan (about 12×18 inches). You will need to trim some of the dough to make it fit – I ended up trimming about 1/3 off one of the sheets.
Place parchment paper on the sheet pan and lay the dough flat. Make sure to layer the two sheets about ¼ of an inch and press them together, so they stay together during the cooking process.
Use a fork to poke holes in the dough. This will allow air to escape and prevent bubbles or uneven baking.
Using a mandolin, cut the zucchinis, squash, eggplant, and tomato into even rounds. If you do not have a mandolin, use a knife!
Drizzle 3 Tbsp. of Olive oil on the pastry dough and use a brush to spread it evenly.
Lay out your veggies in whatever pattern or order you wish. I chose columns of zucchinis and squash alternating between columns of eggplant and tomato, but use your judgment!
Drizzle the remaining 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil on top of the veggies and really go crazy with the salt and pepper. I found that the pepper brings out some amazing flavors in the veggies.
Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour, rotating the tart half way through.
Remove from oven and let cool. Slice and enjoy!