As fairytales do, this one has come to an end. June bids everyone adieu as July waits impatiently to be the star of the show.
Of all the months, July is my least favourite. I know many people will nominate the oft-gloomy November or the very unpredictable March as the months they can do without. But for me, itâ€™s July.
And the reason is very simple. Without question, July is the most humid and muggy month of the year in Toronto. And I absolutely detest humidity. Iâ€™m a fall/winter girl to begin with, so while I enjoy aspects of spring and summer including the garden, fresh fruits and vegetables and long days, I do not enjoy the excessive heat. I survive, but I donâ€™t enjoy it. Add to that the heavy layer of humidity that settles over the city in which I live and I generally become a cranky Cream Puff in July. Not a pretty sight.
But it isnâ€™t quite July 1st yet so until then, I will enjoy the last of June. I had great plans for this month in terms of baking and cooking and the Flavour of the Month â€¦ Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau. But some computer woes and a decision to paint our entire house put a dent in my well-laid plans.
Ah, well â€¦ such is life.
Do not, however, be surprised if you see a Once Upon a Tart creation popping up now and then during the summer. There were quite a few recipes that I wanted to try from this lovely book and never had the chance. While the book is rich with recipes for savoury and sweet tarts, it has so much more. Salads â€¦ soups â€¦ muffins â€¦ cookies â€¦ the list goes on. If you have the opportunity, I urge you to pick up the book and peruse its charming pages. Youâ€™ll be smitten, I guarantee.
To further entice and tempt you, I leave you with this lovely Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart. What a lovely way to end the fairytale!
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Tart
Adapted from Once Upon a Tart … by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau.
The picture at the beginning of this post is one of the tart prior to being baked. It looked so beautiful that I just had to snap a photo.
For the tart shell:
Follow the same recipe as the tart shell in the Roasted Red Pepper Tart with Olive Tapenade.
For the tart:
- 1 large eggplant, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 6 plum tomatoes, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, washed and dried
- 1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup light cream (10%)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 par-baked tart shell (recipe link above)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle generously (a few tablespoons) with salt. Let sit for 1/2 an hour. This draws out any excess moisture from the eggplant.
- After 1/2 an hour, place the eggplant in a bowl (shake off any excess moisture) and add the garlic, olive oil and dried oregano. Mix well and spread the eggplant on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn the eggplant.
- While the eggplant is roasting, place the tomato slices in the colander and allow to drain.
- Once the eggplant is done, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let the eggplant cool to room temperature.
- Place your par-baked tart on a baking sheet (this helps when it’s time to transfer the tart to the oven and also helps in case your tart leaks).
- Line the bottom of the tart with the basil leaves. Sprinkle the parmesan over the basil.
- Alternating between the eggplant and the tomato slices, layer the items in your tart shell. You can be fancy in your design or not … it’s up to you!
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Add some freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used 1/2 a teaspoon).
- Pour the custard mixture carefully over the tart. You may have to stop every now and then to allow the custard to flow down into the tart shell as the eggplant and tomatoes will be piled high. The custard should come up to within a quarter of an inch of the top of the tart shell.
- Carefully transfer your tart to the oven. Bake for an hour or until the custard is set (doesn’t jiggle) and the vegetables are golden and roasted. Let the tart cool before you serve it.
Note: The original recipe calls for the basil and parmesan to be blended together in the food processor until they form a paste. I left the basil leaves whole and lined the tart base with them and it turned out lovely. I also increased the amount of basil from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. The original recipe also calls for 8 or 9 plum tomatoes. I found that to be too many so I cut back to 6 plum tomatoes.