Two Saturdays ago, I was finally around to visit my favorite farmers' market: the Union Square Farmers Market. I live about 5 minutes walking distance from the market and truly look forward to strolling over there on Saturday mornings; selecting farm fresh fruits and veggies, and figuring out ways to incorporate them into our meals.
When I get to the market, I usually wander around to see what all the stands have to offer, and then I treat myself to an Iggy's cranberry pecan roll and start shopping.
While it's not quite tomato season yet, I found Sweet 100 tomatoes at Parker Farm and couldn't resist buying a pint. Then I grabbed some zucchini, basil, peaches, and raspberries at Kimball's Fruit Farm Stand. I already used the peaches and raspberries in a kaiserschmarrn (or Austrian pancake) and in salads with some fresh arugula, also from the farmers' market. With zucchini, tomatoes, and basil left to use up, I knew I could come up with something tasty.
I found a recipe for zucchini, tomato, and ricotta tarts in Cooking for Two 2011 (from the editors of Cook's Illustrated) and decided I wanted to use that as a starting point. As the name of the magazine implies, the recipes are scaled down to just make two servings. I had a lot of zucchini and tomatoes to use, so I decided to double it because I didn't want to go through the effort of using the tarts to just end up with two of them.
The tarts have a simple press-in crust, which is buttery and tasty, but it came out a little too thick for my liking, so next time I will probably make a regular batch of a roll-out dough, use what I need, and freeze the rest for a future tart recipe. I also might drizzle a little balsamic on top of the tarts next time too. Other than that, I enjoyed the tarts and thought they were well flavored and really showcased my farmers' market finds.
Zucchini, Tomato, And Ricotta Tarts (adapted from Cooking for Two 2011)
Makes 4 tarts
All-Butter Tart Shells
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
4 tablespoons ice water
18 to 25 Sweet 100 or cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt and pepper
Small zucchini (about 6 ounces), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/8 inch thick
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) ricotta (I used Maplebrook Farm)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
For the tart shells: Spray four 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms with baking spray.
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined, about 6 pulses.
Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture, and pulse until butter is dispersed, about 20 pulses.
Add 2 tablespoons of ice water, and process until large clumps of dough form and all of the flour mixture is incorporated. If mixture does not clump, add remaining 1 to 2 tablespoons of ice water, as needed.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces (mine were about 80 grams each).
Tear each piece of dough into walnut-size clumps, and pat the dough into the prepared tart pans. (I tried just patting the dough in, just to experiment, but it's much easier to tear it into clumps first.)
Press a piece of plastic wrap over the dough and smooth it with your fingertips to even it out, and then cover each tart shell with plastic wrap.
Place tart shells on a plate or on a sheet pan, and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes (or up to one day).
To bake the shells, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap, and place frozen tart shells on a baking sheet.
Cut four sheets of aluminum foil, and spray the bottom of each with baking spray. Press a piece of foil into each tart shell, and fill the shells with rice or pie weights.
Bake the shells until edges just start to color and dough under foil no longer looks wet, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the foil and rice or weights, and bake the shells for another 5 to 10 minutes, until golden. Let tart shells cool on wire rack.
While shells are baking, prepare the filling. Slice all but four tomatoes into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. You'll get about four or five slices from each tomato. Quarter the reserved four tomatoes. Toss the tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lay them out on paper towels in a single layer.
Toss the zucchini slices with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and lay those out on paper towels in a single layer. Let vegetables drain for 30 minutes.
Then combine 2 tablespoons oil and the minced garlic in a small bowl.
In another bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, ricotta, and mozzarella, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once the tart shells are cool, spread the ricotta mixture evenly in them.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Shingle alternating slices of zucchini and tomatoes all the way around the perimeter of each tart.
Place the quartered tomatoes in the center of each tart.
Drizzle the tarts with the garlic-olive oil mixture.
Remove the tarts from the tart pans, and sprinkle each one with the chopped basil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What are you most excited to find at the farmers market during the summer?