And that was quite possibly the worst Gloria Estefan impression ever.
Never the less, I’m turning the beat around and sampling the best summer has had to offer with my Ratatouille Tart.
Summer squash, ripe zucchini, and a blend of cherry, plum, and heirloom tomatoes come together on a summer style corn crust base. A blend of herbed goat cheese, cappers, and olives naturally salt this summer-thyme tart and a drizzle of local honey sends the seasonal starter off with a sweet kiss.
But before we bid adieu to summer, let this “best of” tart give us a chance to pay tribute to superior summertime produce. A perfect playlist to savour at any crowded or cozy celebration a like.
So lets not argue about it! Come out from Under the Boardwalk and enjoy the remaining Summer Nights: the forecast tells us Fall will be here before you know it.
But until then, allow yourself an extra glass of Rose and linger a little bit longer at the Labor day table…
Ratatouille Thyme Tart
1 cornmeal thyme crust (recipe to follow)
1/2 zucchini thinly slice
1/2 yellow squash thinly slice
2 plum tomatoes thinly sliced
handful yellow cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/4 red onion diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
10 black Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
5 sprigs thyme leaves
1 tablespoon capers
grey salt, black pepper
3-4 oz French crumbly herb goat cheese
Optional: serve with a little balsamic reduction
Ratatouille Tart Method
1. Place onions and garlic in a small sauce pan with a tablespoon of olive oil- sweat the onion and garlic till translucent. Let cool and spread over the bottom of the cornmeal thyme crust.
2. Crumble a little more than half of the goat cheese on top of the onions and garlic and arrange the zucchini, squash and tomatoes in two rings to cover the tart.
Arrange the cherry tomatoes in any gaps or in any pattern you desire. Crumble the olives, capers, and thyme leaves over the vegetables and crumble the rest of the cheese over the entire top.
3. Sprinkle with a scant amount of grey salt (remember the olives and cappers are naturally salty) and crack an ample amount of black pepper.
Finish cooking the tart in the oven for about 30- 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and cooked through.
Let cool slightly, drizzle the top with a bit of honey, slice, and serve!
Cornmeal Thyme Crust
makes one 9-inch pie crust
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (I used local white cornmeal but for a more rustic and golden color use yellow, medium ground)
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons diced unsalted butter
leaves of 4 thyme sprigs
4 1/2 tablespoons ice water
Tart Crust Method
1. Place all ingredients with the exception of the water in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade.
Pulse the mixture until small crumbs form, then add 4 tablespoons of the water and pulse 4-5 times to combine. If necessary add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon if the dough looks particularly dry. Do not over process. Chill covered in the fridge for 20 minutes and then press evenly into a 9 inch tart mold.
2. Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with baking beans, dry beans, and or rill to hold the shape and place the mold on a baking sheet.
3. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 375 F and let cool for one minute. Remove the beans.
*this is my vegetarian friendly tart version, but for my favorite tart recipe, omit the water and replace it with 2-3 large egg yolks. Increase the white flour to 1 cup and leave the cornmeal at 3/4’s cup, decrease the olive oil to 1 tablespoon and add a pinch of sugar. This one will need close to 45 minutes chilling time, but is well worth the wait….