Friday, July 23, 2010

CSA 12: Vegetable Torte

I keep complaining about zucchini to anyone who will listen and apparently some people really do listen.  As a result I’ve got people sending me recipe ideas, like this essay on vegetable tortes from the NY Times that my step mother sent me the other day.  Plus it seemed as though I was fated to make this - just last weekend I bought myself a mandolin that I was eager to put to use.
As indicated in the piece it’s a loose recipe so I adjusted for what I had on hand and for my tastes.
I used my contact grill to grill up the veggies and put 2 layers of cheese in the tortes as glue… and flavor because I like cheese.  And omitted the breadcrumbs for two reasons: 1) (and this is the main reason) I didn’t have any and 2) because I made inverted tortes – which is to say the top while baking was to be the bottom when eating.
I say “tortes” because instead of one big torte I made 4 individual ones – it just works better for my lifestyle.  But certainly this recipe could be made into one big dish instead of 4 small ones.
I also forgot to add any herbs as the essay insists on.  I meant to use some basil but I forgot.  Heck I meant to put any sort of green leafy veggie in there since I’ve got plenty, but I forgot.  But you know what?  These farm fresh organic vegetables really are more flavorful then the average store bought stuff and the lack of herbs in no way diminished from the final product.
The torte itself was not only lovely to look at but super tasty.  So tasty in fact the night I made them, I ate 2.  But not only is it delicious just as is, the next day, I took one, cut it into thirds and used it as empanada filling, which was also excellent.  I bet it would make a great sandwich as well.  This is surely to become a staple recipe in my life.  Oh and ignore that line in the Times piece about this not being an easy recipe.  Yes its time consuming to grill all the veggies, assemble, then bake, but its not at all difficult – other then using the mandolin I’d feel confident to let a small child make this, its just ridiculously simple.
Vegetable tortes
½ large zucchini, sliced into uniform disks
1 medium yellow squash, sliced into uniform disks
1 red onion, sliced and left in disks
3 roasted red peppers, cut into pieces that will work in your baking dish
1/3 cup shredded cheese (I used Asiago and reggiano)
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
Preheat over to 375.  Toss the zucchini and squash in a few spoonfuls of oil – you don’t need much just a slight coating. Grill until soft and they have those lovely grill lines on them.  Lightly spray (or brush) the onion with oil and grill that, keeping the disks intact.
Spray 4 small-medium ramekins with olive oil and start assembling.  Layer squash, zucchini, onion, and peppers with some cheese sprinkled in here and there as glue.  Sprinkle in some salt & pepper every few layers too.  As you are going, really press the layers down to make it compact.  Continue until you’ve used up all your ingredients.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Invert the ramekin on a plate and the torte should fall right out.  Enjoy.

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