Τhis summer I was really lucky: I cooked for the guests at a beautiful house in Paros located straight at “the eye of the North”, where the ferocious Aegean winds blow from.
The view from the kitchen was magnificent, not to mention the small vegetable garden , complete however with peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes, a zillion sweet cherry tomatoes and eggplants of every color. Even yellow!
I cooked all the vegetarian recipes I knew and also tried some new ones – every one of them turned deliciously tasty with these home-grown vegetables! Two by two square meters of a vegetable garden, but the taste and joy enormous! The guests were obviously thrilled too!
What made those vegetables so tasty? Was it the saltiness of the near by sea? Or the fact that they grew under the hot greek summer sun and with just a little bit of water? I am wondering if also my own joy (when I collected them each morning ) added to their taste.
I made briam (the Greek version of ratatouille), stuffed eggplants (called “papoutsakia” or small shoes in actual translation), moussaka and superb Greek salads with local Parian xynomyzithra, my favorite kritharoto with cherry tomatoes that turned tastier than ever, many pepper salads, Gemista (traditional stuffed tomatoes), tomato sauces and fresh vegetable soups and tomato soups, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchinis, Cretan dakos every half hour for whoever was hungry, grilled vegetables, steamed vegetables, my favorite summer salad with fresh zucchini and cucumber….
Each day was a feast of taste, wonderfully complemented by the summer herbs, the yummy breads and rusks and the supreme Greek islands cheeses.
I also made a tarte that’s really worth trying if you can get your hands on tasty and pure cherry tomatoes and zucchinis.
Easy summer tart
with zucchini and cherry tomato
(Serves 10. The shallow baking tray was 35X25 cm)
For the dough:
- 150gr fresh cold butter, straight from the refrigerator, cut in cubes.
- 250gr flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
For the stuffing:
- 3 medium zucchinis thinly cut in round slices , salted and lightly sautéed for 2-3 minutes, just until they get golden on each side.
- Half a bunch of dill, finely chopped
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
- ½ cup milk cream
- 2 cups whole fat milk
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 3-4 cups tasty grated cheese (I chose kefalotyri and some arsenico from the neighboring island of Naxos)
- Salt, pepper
- Some fresh basil, chopped
Start with the dough. Work the butter and flour with your fingers, until well combined.
Add salt, egg and water.
Knead it lightly until you get a soft dough.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Salt and lightly fry the sliced zucchinis for 2-3 minutes, until golden on both sides.
Using your hands, spread the dough in a well buttered baking tray, pressing dough with your fingertips until the bottom is completely covered and some of the dough spread to the sides of the tray.
To prepare the filling, mix well all the ingredients apart from the zucchinis and cherry tomatoes and then place the mixture on the dough, with the cheese spread out evenly – don’t worry if the mix is watery.
Decorate the tart with the zucchinis and cherry tomatoes, by lightly placing them on the cheese mix.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 45 – 50 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes.
Cut and serve with a fresh rocket and tomato salad.