Roasted Vegetable Tart with Goat Cheese and Pesto

It’s often asked of cooks how we like to store our recipes. I’ll admit, I have no rhyme or reason, although, this blog was started as a means of organizing and recording some of the things I come up with. Some are stored in “favorites” folders online and on my hard drive. Others are bookmarked in favorite cookbooks. Still others are meticulously printed and cut to fit on a single sheet and stuffed in a file. And then there are those recipes that are just stored in my head, waiting to leap out onto a cutting board or into a mixing bowl, to be made forever tangible and recorded into lasting memory. Some recipes are fortunate – they’re so badly wanted, and the perfect occasion is right around the corner (often pulled out of thin-air and scheduled for the purpose of debuting the recipe), and I run to the grocery store (or three stores) to gather everything I think I need. Others sit around and wait. They might sound good in theory, but I just don’t have all the skills yet, or the perfect party to host or bring food to. They get set aside, and other new recipes come to center stage. They’re never forgotten, however, and have no fear – they will make it to the table, when the time is just right.

The dish I have been planning for what feels like forever is a roasted vegetable tart. To me, roasted vegetables are one of a cook’s simple pleasures: they allow us to sit back and appreciate the slow process of heat bringing out the subtlest sweet flavors in the vegetables and causing the skins to brown and ripple into a beautiful finished product. Roasted vegetables can be enjoyed as is, or they can become ingredients in about a gazillion kinds of dishes. On the tip of my tongue, I was tasting my roasted vegetables in a crusty shell, complimented by pesto and goat cheese. Goat cheese just has that special property of making everything better, doesn’t it?
I should have done it back in the summer, when the vegetables were ripe and plenty, but the timing was never right. Plus, I didn’t own a tart pan, nor had I ever made a pastry crust. So it got set aside, again and again… until the office potluck came along. To me, a potluck is the perfect opportunity to make something different and delicious, and you don’t really need to worry about planning a menu and what else the dish “goes with”. When a potluck is taking place, I aim to please and impress. Isn’t it nice if your dish looks just a little different than typical potluck fair, something people can ooh and ahh over? So it’s pretty ironic that as soon as I got this idea, someone else did too. Thankfully, she doesn’t work in my office (though I’d love to be a guest in her kitchen any day!). Those of you who have all the really good blogs in your reader and have been looking at these pictures are you scroll down probably think these pictures look a little bit familiar. And that’s because the talented blogger at Smitten Kitchen already put out something quite similar. Well, I hope I’ve convinced you by now that I’ve had this idea for a long while, and I didn’t mean to copy – though, I may have taken a little presentation inspiration for those beautifully sliced vegetable rounds.

Well, you can throw something like this together however you choose. Here’s how I personally went about it:

1) I used my favorite pie crust of the week (the truth is, I’m still trying to find out) and blind-baked it in a tart pan.
2) Meanwhile, I used the slicing attachment on my food processor to create thin rounds of eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, red pepper, and red onion.

3) After letting the tart shell cool a bit, I added a thin layer of tomato sauce seasoned with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence.
4) I layered the vegetables in a circular pattern, repeating the order over and over again. I love symmetry.
5) I tented the edges of the crust with foil (I have a fear of burned edges) and continued baking until the vegetables had the beautiful look of being done.
6) Finally, crumbled goat cheese for the last 5 minutes.
7) Really finally, a drizzle of homemade pesto after cooling completes the look and taste.
Bon Appetite and Happy Holiday Potlucks!

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3 Responses to “Roasted Vegetable Tart with Goat Cheese and Pesto”

  1. 1

    Elly — December 17, 2007 @ 2:31 am Reply

    This looks BEAUTIFUL and I bet it tastes amazing, too!

  2. 2

    MrsPresley — December 18, 2007 @ 3:22 am Reply

    what a wonderful idea… this looks so good!

  3. 3

    Renea — December 21, 2007 @ 4:22 pm Reply

    That looks so beautiful and tasty too!

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