• Savory root vegetable tart

    Photo: Randy Graham

    This is a hearty appetizer filled with carrots, potatoes, rutabagas, fennel and Parmesan cheese.

    This is a wonderful winter appetizer but takes a couple of hours or more to get from oven to the table. Your efforts, however, will be worth it.

    The crust takes about 10 minutes of prep time and should be refrigerated for at least an hour before rolling out. You might want to make the crust the day before to cut down on prep time when you make the tarts. The filling takes about 15 minutes prep time and an hour and a quarter bake time. The dough and filling should be enough to make six 6-inch diameter tarts after baking. It’s easy to make this vegan. Just substitute Earth Balance spread for the butter and leave off the Parmesan cheese. Be forewarned: this is dish is “dry” so be sure to have a good wine or other beverage at hand to “wet your whistle”.

    Crust Ingredients:
    3 cups whole wheat flour
    1 cup wheat germ
    1½ teaspoon sea salt
    1 cup plus 4 tablespoons butter
    10 – 12 tablespoons cold water

    Filling Ingredients:
    ½ pound carrots – about 2 large (scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch lengths)
    ½ pound red potatoes – about 2 medium (cut 1/2 inch cubes – scrub but do not peel)
    ½ pound rutabaga or turnip – about 1 large (peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes)
    ½ pound fennel bulb – 1 good size (thinly sliced)
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons fresh thyme
    1 teaspoons salt
    ½ teaspoon pepper
    2 tablespoon parsley (finely chopped)
    ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (finely grated)

    Crust Instructions:
    Stir together flour, wheat germ and salt. Cut butter into these dry ingredients (a pastry cutter makes this easy). When the dough is the consistency of rolled oats, sprinkle with enough of the water to hold the dough together. Form into a ball, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

    Filling and Baking Instructions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Place prepared root vegetables in a large baking dish (we use a tall Corning Ware 2.8 liter dish). Drizzle with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables uncovered for 45 minutes.

    Roll out dough and cut into 8 inch circles (this will make a tart about 5 to 6 inches in diameter when you are done). Place a cup of roasted vegetables into the center and spread them out evenly to within 1 inch of the end of the crust. Fold the uncovered crust over the vegetables leaving the center of the tart open.

    Sprinkle the open center of each tart with one tablespoon of cheese and a couple of pinches of parsley. Bake tarts for 25 minutes. Serve while still hot.

    Add a fresh garden salad with vinaigrette dressing and you have a complete meal.

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