Sunday, May 23, 2010

Zucchini & Thyme Tart

Is this not gorgeous? I spent Saturday (as usual) at work. All day I couldn't stop thinking about food, I imagined all the recipes I might try when I got home, and day dreamed about cooking courses I could sign up for in the area, I mused over ingredients I could stop and buy on my walk home and new ways I could challenge myself. Part way through my work day, an old friend called me. We decided to have dinner together, and I was nearly ecstatic knowing I would have someone to cook for that night, an opportunity to try out one of the dishes I kept thinking about. I decided I wanted to make a savory tart. I looked at recipes for quite some time online, and even emailed one of my roommates and asked him to check my favorite cookbooks at home, but in the end I improvised. This zucchini & thyme tart is simple and elegant, and tastes just as good at room temp, so you can make it ahead, or even bring it to a potluck to one up the standard pasta salads.

I made the crust from scratch using the Flaky Pie Crust recipe by Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything, which is quickly becoming one of my most trusted resources; I made the filling by mandolin slicing zucchini which I then quickly sauteed with olive oil, garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and dried herbs, and layering it with finely shredded Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. The outcome was savory and delicious, not to mention beautiful. And each step of the process was pretty easy.

Zucchini & Thyme Tart

Flaky Pie Crust (from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Zucchini Filling:
3 medium Zucchini
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese- packed very loosely
1/2 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan or Parmesan, Ramano, Asiago blend
Grape tomatoes (halved) to garnish (optional)

Combine the flour salt and sugar for the crust in a food processor, and pulse twice. add the butter chopped into small pieces, pulse until blended. the mixture should look very granular, pour into a bowl and add the ice water, and use your fingers to combine until you can roll it into a ball. refrigerate and then roll out following the directions from Mark Bittman in the link above.

Slice the zucchini into thin oblong pieces using a mandoline slicer if you have one, if not slice as thinly as you can by hand.

In a large bowl, pour half the olive oil over the zucchini, and add the salt, pepper, dried herbs and half of the chopped thyme. combine in the bowl so that the zucchini are evenly coated in oil and herbs. In a large pan, heat the remaining oil and add the clove of garlic, chopped finely. add 1/2 of the remaining tablespoon of fresh thyme to the oil, and allow to cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. add the herbed and oiled zucchini to the pan, and over high heat saute for no more than 5 minutes.

Assembling the tart:

Preheat oven to 375.
start by laying a thin layer of shredded Gruyere into the bottom of the refrigerated pie crust. Over this, begin to lay the zucchini, starting from the center of the tart, in a single circular layer- overlapping each end in an outward direction until the bottom of the tart crust is completely covered. Cover this layer with a second layer of Gruyere and a thin layer of Parmesan. Create a second layer of zucchini using the same method as the first. and another layer of Gruyere and Parmesan. Lay down a third layer of Zucchini and then top with the remaining gruyere and parmesan, sprinkle on the remaining Thyme and garnish with the grape tomatoes, sliced side up.

Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until both crust and cheese is golden.

Make this dish a light summer meal by pairing it with a salad and white wine, or eat a slice as a side or appetizer. 


  1. I am totally making this, it looks delicious!And I'm hoping to have loads of courgettes over the summer :)

  2. Nic- let me know how it turns out! I just added your blog to my list to follow, i look forward to seeing what kind of things you make.


  3. Thanks, Heather! It turned out great. maybe i will come back to the Berkshires at some point and we can do some cooking together. :)

    Happy -100 days.