I’m a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi and his exciting approach to vegetarian cooking. The innovative chef has a very inventive take on Mediterranean food and incorporates bold flavours and pure ingredients.
His food is also good on a budget but creative enough to be gourmet. His Roast Vegetable Tart suits all seasons and is hearty enough to serve up to even the stanchest of meat-eaters.
Roast vegetable tart
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3cm dice
- Half a small courgette, cut into 3cm dice 2 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 200g shortcrust pastry
- 3 sprigs of thyme, picked
- 50g goat’s cheese
- 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large free-range egg
- 130ml double cream
- About 50ml olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Set the oven to 230C/Gas 8. Use a small serrated knife to cut around the stem of the pepper and lift it out along with the seeds. Shake the pepper to remove all the remaining seeds and discard the stem and seeds.
- Place the pepper in a small ovenproof dish, drizzle with a little oil and put on the top shelf in the oven. Mix the sweet potato in a bowl with two tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper, lay in a medium baking tray and place on the oven shelf beneath the peppers.
- After 12 minutes add the courgette to the sweet potato and stir gently. Return to the oven for another 12 minutes or until both vegetables are cooked but still firm. Leave the pepper in the oven for another 10-12 minutes, or until it is thoroughly brown, then remove and cover with foil until it cools down. Once cool, peel and break roughly into strips.
- While the vegetables are roasting, sauté the onion on the stove top along with the bay leaf, some salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook them on a medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn brown, soft and sweet. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf and set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/Gas 3. Lightly grease a 16-18cm tart tin with a removable base. Roll out the pastry to a circle roughly 3mm thick and large enough to line the base and sides of the tin, plus extra to hang over the edge. Carefully line the tart case with the pastry, making sure you don’t puncture it. Press the pastry so it covers the base and sides of the tin, with the excess hanging over the edge.
- Line the pastry base with a large sheet of baking parchment (make sure it covers the base and sides) and fill it with ceramic baking beans. Bake blind for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the paper with the beans. Give the case another 10 minutes in the oven so it turns golden brown. Remove and allow to cool a little.
- Now, scatter the base of the tart with the cooked onion and top with the roasted vegetables; try to arrange them evenly, then scatter half the thyme over them. Next, dot the veg with chunks of cheese and then with tomatoes, cut side facing up.
- Whisk the egg and cream in a small bowl, along with some salt and pepper. Carefully and slowly, pour this mix into the tart. Make sure the top layer remains exposed so you can see the vegetables and cheese. Scatter the remaining thyme on top and place in the oven. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the filling sets and turns golden. Remove and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before breaking off the excess pastry, taking the tart out of the tin and serving.