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Zucchini tart with lemon, fennel, feta and thyme

Zucchini tart with lemon, fennel, feta and thyme

Zucchini tart with lemon, fennel, feta and thyme

If I have zucchinis in the kitchen all is right with my world.

I just love their buttery flavour. Zucchini complements many different ingredients so it’s easy to grate, slice or chop them up, add a few simple pantry items and voila, a delicious dish of food. You can stuff zucchinis, saute them in oil, stew chunks of it in tomato, bake, barbecue or eat them raw. They make moist cake, a pate style spread, moreish (and Moorish) fritters, soup, piquant pickle, or as I have here, a yummy savoury tart. I think they are the most versatile of all vegetables. I can always create a meal when there are zucchinis in the fridge.

I’ve posted a recipe before that uses Jane Grigson”s fabulous oatmeal crust from her  1979 Vegetable Book. It’s a recipe that translates well swapping the wheat flour for spelt. It’s a robust crust but with a delicious biscuity mouth feel and sweet nutty flavour, perfect with the subtle flavour of zucchinis. The oatmeal pastry a bit tricky to handle but it’s also forgiving. It patches easily if it tears while you’re lining the flan tin, so don’t be deterred.

For my tart I sliced the zucchinis thinly on my Japanese mandolin. I lightly salted the slices and left them to drain for 30 minutes while I did a few chores and prepared the pastry. After rinsing the salt from the zucchinis I spread the slices on a clean tea towel to dry. This is an important step in their preparation. No one likes a soggy tart.

I wanted a tart that was dense with zucchini, a tart that was more vegetable than egg custard so I layered the zucchinis into the pastry base thinly, added a little custard mix and topped them with a scatter of thyme leaves, fennel seeds, lemon zest, black pepper and crumbled feta. When the tart base was full to the brim, I baked it for an hour.

My zucchini tart is best cut when warm rather than piping hot.

Zucchini tart with lemon, thyme and feta

3 medium zucchinis

125g feta cheese

zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

bunch of fresh thyme

3 eggs

125ml light cream

freshly ground black pepper

pastry:

125g ultra sifted white spelt flour

125g rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

125g cold butter, diced

1 egg

pastry:

Measure the oats, spelt flour and salt  into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to combine.

Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add the egg to the flour and process only until the pastry forms a ball.

Very lightly knead the dough to bring it together then chill for 30 minutes.

Grease a 20cm deep fluted loose bottomed flan tin. Preheat the oven to 170C

Lightly dust the bench and rolling pin with spelt flour. Roll the dough out into a round 2-3mm thick.

Slip the dough over the rolling pin and into the flan tin.

Because the dough has a coarse texture you need to push into into the grooves of the tin. Cut it off level with the top edge*, push it into the angles and edges, mend any tears.

filling:

Using a mandolin, very finely slice the zucchinis into a colander.

Sprinkle the slices with salt as you finish each zucchini. Leave to drain for 30 minutes.

Rinse the zucchini slices, then spread them on a clean dry tea towel. Pat them dry with a second tea towel.

Whisk the eggs and cream together lightly in a jug.

Strip the thyme leaves from the stems, and finely grate the lemon zest

to construct the tart :

Lightly sprinkle the base of the flan with thyme leaves, finely grated lemon zest, whole fennel seeds and feta cheese. Top with a thin layer of zucchini slices and moisten with a couple of tablespoons of the custard mixture. Continue layering until the pastry case is full, finishing with a feta cheese layer.

Bake until the tart is golden brown and it feels firm in the middle, approximately 1 hour.

Allow to tart to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.

*The excess dough can be used to line small tart dishes and frozen until needed.

 

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

24 comments on “Zucchini tart with lemon, fennel, feta and thyme

  1. thisendoftheswamp
    April 4, 2016

    This does sound interesting. It’s just early, early spring in the States, so it’ll be a while until I can try this, but I copied it over into Word. Zucchini is really handy – I’m allergic to iodine, so can’t eat crab cakes, but so I grate and drain zucchini, and use that instead of crab meat – add bread crumb, Old Bay, etc. (Living right on the Chesapeake Bay and not being able to eat hard crabs is akin to going to an AA meeting in the back room of a bar.)

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 4, 2016

      Glad you like the sound of my zucchini tart, I hope when summer comes and zucchini are plentiful you get the chance to try it 🙂

      Like

  2. leaf (the indolent cook)
    March 30, 2016

    What a gorgeous tart! I love that it is generous with zucchini, and I can imagine how nice it tastes with the lemon, fennel, feta and thyme.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 30, 2016

      Thanks yes the zucchinis are the hero here, I’m glad you like it

      Like

  3. Pinned, what a lovely addition to a summer buffet lunch.

    Like

  4. Sue Marquis Bishop
    March 19, 2016

    So lovely to serve guests.

    Like

  5. Michelle
    March 17, 2016

    Nice! I have no idea why, but I used to think I didn’t like zucchini. I’m not quite sure what I was thinking. 🙂

    Like

  6. Francesca
    March 16, 2016

    I have all those things on hand. Must give this one a go.

    Like

  7. Gretchen
    March 16, 2016

    Pinned and trying as soon as the first zucchinis are ready in the garden! This looks incredible and has all my favorites, zucchini, spelt, feta, thyme. I am drooling just looking at it.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 16, 2016

      It was a delicious tart, hope you enjoy it too when your zucchini crop delivers

      Like

  8. ChgoJohn
    March 16, 2016

    This is one gorgeous tart, Sandra. I love zucchini and combining it with feta, fennel, and thyme to make a tart is a great idea. You’ve brought together some amazing flavors here. Pinned it. Now let’s see if I can find it later this summer. 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 16, 2016

      Zucchini needs a bit of help in the flavour department but I didn’t want to drown our it’s subtle flavour either. The fennel seed, thyme and fetta were a great enhancement

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa @ cheergerm
    March 15, 2016

    I too am in love with zucchini so I second this, every delicous bite. Please send me a slice of this green bejewelled tart. You have made me hungry Mrs R.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 16, 2016

      Zucchini has a lot of fans it seems. I just love that there are so many different ways to prepare it

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Eha
    March 15, 2016

    I have always had the same love affair with zucchinis as you and in spite of having made a big pot of ratatouille yesterday have enough to try this. Am not a baker, but that rolled oats crust I would like to try soonest and the whole looks so appetizing I almost feel like going into the kitchen at nearly 10pm 🙂 ! Do like the extra touch of fennel seeds also . . .

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 16, 2016

      Glad my tart inspired you to cook. The oat crust is delicious

      Like

  11. Debra Kolkka
    March 15, 2016

    How lovely. I will be trying this soon, thank you.

    Like

  12. Sue
    March 15, 2016

    This looks interesting…I wonder ed how you would make the dough. Must try it one day

    Like

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