Spring has sprung! When I saw these beautiful multi-hued rainbow carrots as I was wandering the produce department, I immediately started pondering recipes to exploit those vibrant colors.
Here’s a zesty spiral tart using ultra-thin ribbons of carrot and zucchini nestled in a savory cheesecake-like base.
Honestly, the best part about this tart is that it’s beautiful. But make no mistake, it’s also delicious. It’s a perfect appetizer, side dish or a colorful main dish served alongside a salad.
Regarding rainbow carrots, they’re lovely, but no need to purchase them unless they’re on sale. You can use this spiral technique with zucchini, summer squash, carrots, parsnips, eggplant, potato, sweet potato, even purple potato! If it can be peeled with a vegetable peeler, you’re in business.
SPIRAL VEGETABLE TART
Yield: one (9-inch) tart Servings: 8 appetizers
1 1/2 cups rich buttery cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) tub whipped cream cheese (garden vegetable flavor)
1 pound (about 4 large) carrots
1 large zucchini
Drizzle of olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 F. To make the crust, crumble the crackers into a fine meal and blend with melted butter until all the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch tart pan, ideally with a removable bottom. Bake the tart shell for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, whisk the cream, egg and salt. In another bowl, stir the cream cheese to soften. Add 4 tablespoons of the egg mixture and stir to completely combine. Set aside. Reserve the remainder of the egg mixture.
- To prepare the vegetables, cut both ends off the carrot. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the carrots and discard. Using the peeler, continue to slice long, wide, lengthwise layers from the carrots until it’s a lovely pile of strips. Repeat with remaining carrots. Peel the zucchini in the same manner as the carrots. It’s important that the strips of veggies be similar in width. I sliced some of the zucchini in half to match the carrots.
- When you have your veggies sliced, place them in a big bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Microwave the veggies for 2 minutes to soften. (This is the secret to making this technique work. You are now a keeper of the secret. Shhhh.)
- To assemble the tart, using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, carefully spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of the tart shell. There will be some rogue crumbs, but don’t worry. The spiral will cover a multitude of sins.
- Roll a strip of zucchini into a tight spiral, followed by a strip of carrot. Continue adding slices, alternating colors, forming a tight spiral. When this becomes too big to hold in your hand, you can carefully place it in the center of the tart. Continue arranging alternating layers of vegetables around the spiral until you reach the outer edge of the crust.
- Spoon the remaining egg mixture over the spiral, encouraging the mixture to sink in between the layers of veggies.
- Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Test for temperature of 140 F to ensure the egg has cooked. Cool and serve. It slices nicely with a serrated knife.
This tart requires some effort, but it’s such a showstopper, it’s definitely worth doing.
Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at firstname.lastname@example.org
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