A Green and Yellow Basket
By Angela Denstad Stigeler
A tisket, a tasket—just as summer’s really on a roll, it seems we’re about to lose it! As Labor Day and the ensuing return to routine loom near, celebrate the end-of-season produce with this clever and delicious little tart. It’s a pastry full to the brim of delicately sautéed summer squash and zucchini, topped with a pretty weave comprised of thin ribbons of the two. This flourish elevates the tart to a new level of elegance, but what is best about it is that, even if you should skip that step, you’ll still want to make this just because it tastes so good. While you could make this from all zucchini or summer squash, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the two. Woven together, they form a green and yellow basket full of summer bounty.
1 pre-baked 8 or 9-inch pie shell, preferably homemade
2 thin, small green zucchini
2 thin, small yellow squash
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large leeks, white parts only, cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (1 ounce)
1 large whole egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, thinly slice 1 green zucchini and 1 yellow squash lengthwise into ribbons. Place the slices in a colander in a single layer, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place the colander in a bowl, and set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
Cut the remaining zucchini and squash into 1/3-inch dice. In a large skillet, melt the butter over high heat, add the leeks, diced zucchini and yellow squash, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown but still firm, about 8 minutes. Evenly distribute the cooked vegetables in the pastry crust. Sprinkle Gruyere evenly over the top. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, and cream, and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the egg mixture.
Place the salted squash ribbons between double layers of paper towels. Gently press down on them to remove as much liquid as possible. Alternating squash colors, tightly weave a lattice pattern over the top of the cheese and vegetables, covering the entire surface.* Overlap pieces as necessary and trim or tuck in ends to fit.
Using a pastry brush, coat the lattice with olive oil. Bake, loosely covered with aluminum foil, until the custard is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
*Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living. For a photo of the recipe, go to www.thymeout.wordpress.com.