It is a tremendously simple dish to make and serves well as a light meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) or you may make in a square pan, cut into bite sized pieces and serve it as cocktail nibble.
To accompany the tart, we had a spinach salad which I dressed with a Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette. Between the Herbs de Provence in the goat cheese and the dijon mustard in the dressing, the meal ended up having a decidedly French flair.
This is my lovely Tarte aux Fromage de Chevre et de deux Cougres Polenta or Goat Cheese and Polenta Tart with Two Squashes. The salad is dressed with Jaune Tomate Vinaigrette Dijon or Yellow Tomato Dijon Vinaigrette. I just SOUNDS so much fancier when you say it in French oui?
I also decided to set the small table by the kitchen window pour deux and have a leisurely dinner WITHOUT the television! Now how to wrest the remote from Roger's clutches? Someday he will be buried with that thing because it is unlikely that the mortician will be able to pry it from his cold dead fingers!
So here is our lovely intimate dinner for two...
Preparation of the tart begins simply with the making of the polenta crust.
You will need:
- 2 cups boiling water or low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup yellow corn polenta (buy organic if possible)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves finely minced or pasted garlic
- 1/2 cup oil packed sundried tomatoes, minced (do not drain)
Bring the water or broth to a boil over medium high heat; add the salt, garlic and minced sundried tomatoes with whatever oil is on them. Gradually whisk in the polenta. You must stir constantly and exercise caution for two reasons...lumps and splattering! Hot polenta bubbles fiercely and can cause quite a serious burn if you are not careful.
Once the polenta has thickened, remove from heat. Lightly grease a removable bottom tart pan with room temperature butter. Using a spatula, scrape polenta out into tart pan. Grease the back of a spoon or your hands (if you have asbestos fingers like me) and press the polenta up the sides and evenly into the bottom of the pan creating a crust. Set the crust aside to prepare the goat cheese filling.
- 3 ounces soft, creamy style goat cheese at room temperature
- 3 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese or cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 ounces crumbled goat milk feta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon (or to taste) Herbs de Provence
Using a spatula, mash the cheeses and herbs together thoroughly in a small bowl until you have a creamy homogenous mixture. Spread the cheese evenly into the bottom of the prepared polenta crust.
Next you will prepare the two squashes.
- 1 large (about 7 inches long) zucchini squash
- 1 large or two small yellow crookneck summer squash
- 1 clove grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Using a mandolin slicer works best for getting the squash slices precisely thin but it you don't have one, simply slice them as thinly as you can. Beginning at the outter edge, alternate slices of zucchini and yellow squash until a complete circuit of the tart is made. Repeat in concentric circles to the center. It usually takes 4 or 5 slices to finish the center of the tart. Add the grated garlic to the olive oil and brush the whole surface of the tart liberally.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the tart on the center rack in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes. If the squash are not as nicely browned as you would like, switch the oven to broil and broil to desired browness. I do not brown mine excessively...merely till the squash begins to curl at the edges.
The tart must rest for 10 minutes before attempting to remove the outer ring else you risk breaking the fragile polenta crust. As it cools, the crust becomes more stable and the cheese filling more set. This tart is actually best served at room temperature.
The Yellow Tomato Dijon Vinaigrette comes together in a flash with the blender
- 2 medium yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into 8ths
- 2 cloves pressed garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard (to taste)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (more if you don't mind the fat)
Plop tomatoes, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, pepper and vinegar into the blender. Pulse until completely pureed. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. With blender running, drizzle olive oil through top opening until all is combined. The mixture may break and curdle if all the olive oil is added at once. Store any unused portion in a lidded container (not metal) in the fridge for up to a week.
(c)copyright Jill Anderson
The Homegrown Gourmet