Tarts of Summer

Now you can take that title any way you like, but like any good tart, these are cute, sassy  and seriously 'easy'. as any good tartlet should be.  Flavorful, flaky and light, they can work equally as well as a chic addition on a buffet table, a perfect starter for a dinner party or cut a huge slice for lunch with a side salad.  Better yet, as a last minute dish to bring to a BBQ.

Of course, we have all seen these types of tarts before.  As a matter of fact, I was motivated to create these after stumbling upon a new hot spot in Grand Central Market, Great Northern Food. I wandered around and was lusting after all the stunning open sandwiches, pizzas and breads. TORTURE!! for me since I can't eat any of those yeasty, wheaty items, but in awe of all the simple yet elegant presentation.  

Inspiration struck on Saturday at my farmer's market as I filled my basket with summer vegetables: zucchini, summer squash and, of course, tomatoes. I thought I'd make my own version of what I saw at Great Northern.   Since I can't eat the puff pastry and wasn't expecting a crowd at my house, I was grateful for the perfect timing that I was heading off to a BBQ. These tarts, along with my Corn Salad: Fresh & Roasted, would be my offerings to the hostess.  And yes, this is typical me; invent something that I have never made before and bring it to someone's house, or test it on my own guests.  Fearless!  Why the hell not?  With good ingredients how can you go wrong? 

I will admit that although I love baking, I do take some short cuts when in a rush or think up a recipe on the fly.  I had some store bought puff pastry in the freezer which takes no time to defrost.  It's folded in thirds, so when you open it up it literally has three equal pieces. That's when my mind kicked into making three different tarts instead of one.  Plus, everyone always seems to like having a piece of crust so this method gives you more edges.  Because I'm a people pleaser, folks!  

 Store bought puff pastry

Store bought puff pastry

Ingredients

Puff Pastry
1-2 small zucchini
1 small yellow summer squash
Cheese of your choice, goat cheese, Tetilla, ricotta
Olive Oil, salt, pepper
Basil

Instructions

I rolled each one out to a slightly larger size.  Added water to the edges to fold over a little rim, then poked the bottoms with a fork.  I would have liked to have used goat cheese, as that is such a classic combo, but didn't have any.  I did however, have Tetilla which is a creamy cow's milk cheese from Spain that melts like nobody's business.  (P.S. This cheese is wonderful for grilled cheese sandwiches.)  By all means slather on the cheese of your choice.   

I sliced the tomatoes and roasted them at high heat because I wanted to dry them out as much as possible so as to not make a soggy tart.  I used a mandolin to thinly slice the zucchini and summer squash and left that raw. Then I arranged the vegetables in the simplest but prettiest manner, dividing the veggies three different ways. Mix, match, arrange however you like. Do whatever floats your boat but be sure to season them with salt, pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and basil.

I popped them in a 425 degree oven and let them bake until perfectly crisp on the edges. These look so professional you could sell them.  But instead I brought them to the BBQ where they got the 'oohs and ahhs' these tartlets felt they deserved.  So summer sassy, they are.