A mere few days ago I was singing the praises of autumn. Today, however I feel the need to backpedal a bit. Summer has returned to Eastern Canada, and brought with it many, many enticing morsels.
I thought I would post a few quick and easy dishes which, in my humble opinion are perfect for enjoying the best of the season. Both of these dishes are perfect for those meat-free days which we should all try to fit at least once into our weekly meal schedule.
First, zucchini rosti. This is one of my summer favorites, and very simple to prepare.
First, grate one medium zucchini. This will serve person one as a hearty main dish, or two as a side dish. Let the grated zucchini drain in a sieve over a bowl, ideally adding weight to the top to squeeze out the excess juices. (I used a small plate with a jar of pasta sauce on top; to finish I squeezed by hand.)
Add 1/3 cup bread crumbs, and 1 egg. Mix together until combined. Season with sea-salt and freshly ground pepper. You may choose to add herbs if you wish, though I reserved mine for the sauce that I made to top the rosti.
Heat about 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. When hot, place the mix in the pan and shape into a flat round. You can complete the cooking on the stovetop, or put it into a 375 degree oven. Either way, you will want to flip it once, to get the top and bottom equally crispy. You can also finish it off in the broiler to make it extra crisp.
For the sauce I mixed 1/2 cup Balkan style plain yogurt, with 1 tbsp mayonnaise. Add fresh herbs of your choice. I used tarragon. It was delicious.
Another summer time favorite is a simple tomato tart. This is a super-fast dish, and is perfect for a light dinner or lunch. I have also served it as small individual squares as part a bridal shower buffet.
You will need one square of puff-pastry, thawed in the fridge. If you can get the pastry in sheet form, that is easiest. If you can only find blocks, roll it out to approximately 10x10 inches. Place it on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
Next, brush with an egg wash, and prick the pastry several times at regular intervals with a fork. Place it in a pre-heated oven (follow package instructions), until it is browned and puffed. Now, remove it from the oven and let the pastry fall until it is even and has no irregular lumps and bumps. Pre-baking the pastry helps keep it crisp and flaky.
In the meantime, slice enough tomatoes to completely cover the top of the tart. I used 2 medium vine tomatoes. Chop some herbs to scatter on top. Choose your favorite. Tonight, I used a mix of basil and tarragon.
Layer the tomatoes on the now fallen pastry, scatter on your herbs, and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You may also decide to add some cheese. Tonight, I added a wonderfully creamy, triple-cream brie. It is also wonderful with goat's cheese or feta.
Place the tart back in the oven until tomatoes are wilted and warmed, and the cheese is melted.
There are so many variations to this tart. Apart from a gamut of herbs and cheeses with which to experiment, there is now also a wonderful variety of heirloom tomatoes available. You can add your own additions as well, such as olives, or pine nuts.
Enjoy. Bon Apetit.