This post was originally published here September 5, 2014. I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly. And I’ve updated the text and photographs to reflect those changes.
I can feel that “produce anxiety” starting to creep in. It happens to me every year around this time. Usually triggered by an overwhelming number of choices at the farmer’s markets and grocery stores. And a keen awareness of the perpetual forward motion of time.
It’s a real problem that I struggle with. One that only seems to be solved by trying to consume as much local produce possible.
This tart, which features so many of my Summer favorites, helps me to do that just that. It’s like produce anxiety therapy.
This Eggplant and Summer Squash Tart with Goat Cheese and Tomato-Shallot Jam is *kind of* like a version of pizza. There is a thin crust, a tomato-based layer, cheese and lots of vegetable toppings. Pizza purist will probably disagree with me. But that’s what always comes to mind when I eat this tart.
The crust is made from store-bought puff pastry, which is a shortcut I’m more than happy to take. Because it gives me the opportunity to spend a little more time and energy preparing the other ingredients. Like making a luscious tomato-shallot jam from scratch. And taking a few minutes to pre-roast the eggplant and squash slices, so the tart doesn’t get overly soggy from all their inherit moisture.
I used kousa in this recipe, which is a Summer squash that you may run across at your farmer’s market. It’s very similar to zucchini both in appearance and taste. So the two can be used interchangeably in recipes. If you see it, grab it. But if not, zucchini is a perfectly good option here.
This Eggplant and Summer Squash Tart with Goat Cheese and Tomato-Shallot Jam makes for a fantastic dinner. I particularly like it paired with either this arugula salad or these blistered green beans. But it can also be turned into a party appetizer. I simply cut the squares smaller, for easier handling.
For the Tomato-Shallot Jam:
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup diced shallots
- Zest and juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
For the Tart:
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to the package instructions
- 1 small-medium eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 small-medium squash (zucchini or kousa), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Black pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese, softened at room temperature
- To make the tomato-shallot jam, place the tomatoes and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir to coat the tomatoes in the sugar. Then let them sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
- After 1 hour, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, plus any of their released juices, to the skillet along with the diced shallot. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 12-15 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy. And the tomatoes should be almost completely broken down. Stir in the remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Then remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the sheet of puff pastry out into a rectangle so it’s slightly smaller than your baking sheet (approximately 10- X 15-inches). Then transfer the puff pastry to your parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in your refrigerator to chill the puff pastry while you prepare the eggplant and the squash.
- Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Add the eggplant and squash rounds to a large bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and use your hands to help coat the rounds in the oil. Spread the rounds out onto a rimmed baking sheet (some overlap is OK) and season with salt and black pepper. Then bake the rounds in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Remove the baking sheet with the puff pastry from your refrigerator. Prick the surface of the puff pastry all over with the tines of a fork. Then spread the goat cheese out in a thin, even layer over the puff pastry, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Spread the tomato-shallot jam out evenly over the goat cheese. Then arrange the baked eggplant and squash rounds over the tomato-shallot jam, overlapping them as needed. Season with additional salt and black pepper. Then bake the tart in your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
- This tart is best when it’s enjoyed on the day it’s made.