Farmers' Market Cooking: Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart

by moderndomestic on June 29, 2009

Veg Tart 1

My recipe for health. For lunch.

Food Inc. must have gotten to me, because I actually made it down to the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. I decided to do a little experiment and see what it was like to do my weekly grocery shopping at the Farmers’ Market, rather than the Giant. Granted, there were a couple items that I couldn’t get there, like olive oil, savory thins (the world’s best cracker), and tupperware, but I scored some lovely produce and a beautiful hunk of goat cheese.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market 1

The Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market, on Saturday morning.

For my first foray into farmers’ market cooking, I decided to try one of The New York Times “Recipes for Health,” by Martha Rose Shulman. Last week focused on Mediterranean vegetable pies that were heavy on the vegetables, and light on the fat. Given that I had randomly picked up Swiss chard and zucchini with my farmers’ market haul, I decided to try the Provencal tart, which features both ingredients.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market 3

Zucchini (in the back), pre-tart.

I was intrigued with the yeasted bread crust that Shulman uses for the tart – I had never had a tart with a yeast crust before. The recipe calls for half whole wheat and half white flour, and uses olive oil for the fat. I loved making the crust, because there’s just something magical about yeast for me, and, as Shulman notes, it was incredibly easy to roll out. But after tasting the finished tart, I don’t know if I’m sold on yeast crusts, even they are better for me than the classic butter version. I didn’t roll out the dough thin enough, because it was definitely too bready and chewy on the sides. I also missed the crisp flakiness of the butter crust.

The filling was okay, although I wonder if it was the best use of my farmers’ market haul. The onions added a sweet flavor to the filling, which I’m not sure if I liked. I liked that I could really taste the chard and zucchini, and the thyme and garlic brought out their flavors. I substituted goat cheese (not the good stuff I got from the farmers’ market, but some left over from last week) for the Gruyere that the recipe originally calls for, but I couldn’t really taste it.

All in all, this tasted a little too much like a recipe for health for me, and the payoff wasn’t big enough given the substantial amount of work it took to make. But as vegetable-based dishes go it’s not bad, and I’m actually looking forward to having it for lunch this week. Maybe with a couple of tweaks (ditch the onion, up the cheese, maybe up the garlic). I’d even make it again.

Veg tart 3

This tart looks so . . . healthy . . .

You can find the crust recipe on The New York Times web site. The recipe for Provençal zucchini and swiss chard tart is here. If you want, you can substitute the goat cheese for Gruyere, like I did, although I might suggest that you up the cheese amount by 1/4 cup, no matter which type you use. I mean, it’s a recipe for health, but you only live once, right?

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