Veggie Tart

Again I find myself home for a long-weekend, and with carte-blanche in the grocery stores and kitchen. I usually prefer experimenting on my own when it comes to recipes, and I rarely if ever use cookbooks; however, I recently had bought what quite possibly is the most beautiful cookbook I have ever seen (honestly, the photographer should win some kind of award for this). It’s Ottolenghi’s “Plenty”. Things get more shocking; not only did I finally buy myself a cookbook, I bought a VEGETARIAN cookbook. That’s right. Everything in this book is vegetarian. But here’s the thing: Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian. So, if you’d like, think of this as a vegetarian cookbook for non-vegetarians.

This recipe was major new territory for me. Embarrassingly, this was my first time roasting vegetables. It was only my second time cooking with eggplant. The basic idea of a quiche has also been relatively new for me (see earlier posts). So this was pretty intimidating for me.

The food was BEYOND delicious, though. And all things considered, the vegetables are pretty cheap (i.e., this recipe isn’t a budget buster). Still, there were some definite downsides. Well, really just one: TIME. Previously, the most time-intensive dish I’d ever made was cheesecake. This took almost a whole afternoon from start to finish. Also, I have to say…Ottolenghi writes his recipes like I do, meaning he totally handwaves the amount of veg you need. So, what he thought was one pie’s worth was, for me, two pies.

INGREDIENTS

  • Two 9 inch pie crusts
  • Two bell peppers, one yellow and one red
  • One medium zucchini, diced
  • One large eggplant, diced
  • One medium-to-large sweet potato, diced
  • Two medium onions, sliced thinly
  • About 12-15 cherry tomatoes, sliced down the middle
  • Thyme
  • Two bay leaves
  • Two eggs
  • One cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces feta
  • One package ricotta
  • Salt, pepper, and olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450*F.
  2. Roast the vegetables. For this you’re going to need about 45 minutes and two baking pans.
    1. The first baking pan will be solely for the bell peppers. Take off the tops and remove all the seeds. Drizzle them in olive oil and set them in the oven.
    2. The second baking pan will basically be for “everything else.” Start with the eggplant. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Put them in the oven with the peppers. After 12 minutes, add the sweet potatoes. After another 12 minutes, add the zucchini. Wait another 10-12 minutes. Then, remove both pans and ALL veggies.
    3. Cover the bell peppers with foil or Saran wrap. After they have cooled slightly, the skin will just peel off.
  3. Now prepare the onions. Place them in a skillet with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the two bay leaves. Caramelize the onions. When they are done remove the bay leaves.
  4. Beat two eggs in a bowl with a cup of heavy cream.
  5. Layering time. Place the caramelized onions on the bottom of the pie crusts. Then layer the roasted veggies evenly. Place some chopped thyme on top of the veggies. Next evenly distribute the cheeses. Top with the sliced tomatoes. Last, ladle the egg-cream mix into the pies and top with more thyme.
  6. Place in a preheated 350*F oven for 45-60 minutes. Let set for about 10 minutes prior to serving.
    Pre-oven
    Post-oven, and comparison to the picture in the original cookbook.

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