Sunday, January 04, 2009

Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust

This looked fantastic and got excellent reviews so I was really excited to make it. However, this was just one little catastrophe after another.

First, as I was putting the tart crust into the refrigerator, the sides of the tart pan slipped (ALWAYS CARRY IT BY THE SIDES, NOT BY THE BOTTOM) and crumbly crust went EVERYWHERE. In the refrigerator, on the floor, under the refrigerator, into Emma's dog bowl. It was horrible. Luckily since I was using a 9" round tart pan, I had some extra crust to use.

Although was it really lucky? Because the crust was awful. It was dry and crumbly and lacked flavor. The tapenade and vinegar gave the meal a bitter taste, and the feta didn't add much (I subbed feta for the goat cheese). I liked the roasted vegetables a lot - I couldn't find a fennel bulb so I just used broccoli and Brussels sprouts. This is unfortunately not a make-again for us.


Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust
Eating Well

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped and rinsed
1 pound small broccoli florets or Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 small or 1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/3 cup black olive tapenade (see Ingredient Note)
½ cup crumbled goat cheese

1 ¼ cups white whole-wheat flour (see Ingredient Note)
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
½ cup cornmeal
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ice water

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. To prepare filling: Spread leeks, broccoli (or Brussels sprouts), fennel and onion in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet along with the unpeeled head of garlic. Season the vegetables with rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle oil over the vegetables and garlic and toss to coat.
3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife and the garlic is soft, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, set aside the garlic, and toss the vegetables with vinegar. Let cool.
4. To prepare crust: Coat an 8-by-12-inch rectangular or 11-inch round removable-bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
5. Place flour, Cheddar and cornmeal in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add oil and water and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
6. When the vegetables are done, reduce oven temperature to 350°. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes.
7. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Spread tapenade over the bottom of the crust. Top with the roasted vegetables. Cut off the top of the garlic and squeeze out the cloves onto the vegetables. Sprinkle with goat cheese.
8. Bake the tart until the edges of the crust are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the pan sides and cutting into squares.

Prepare the crust (Step 4), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 8-by-12-inch rectangular or 11-inch round removable-bottom tart pan

Ingredient notes: Black olive tapenade is a thick paste made from olives, garlic and other flavorful ingredients. Look for it near jarred olives at the store. Or to make your own for this recipe, puree 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, 1 clove peeled garlic and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.

White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Available in large supermarkets and in natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

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