May 30, 2014

Zucchini Tomato Crostada

Every once in a while, I need an appetizer. But not just any appetizer. A showstopper. One with colorful fresh produce and bright flavors. This time, it was my mom who needed such a dish. She was going to listen to a concert with some friends, and nothing would do the fabulous Jimmy Buffett justice but this tomato zucchini crostada.

So what exactly is a crostada? It's basically a tart, but it's baked flat on a cookie tray with the edges folded over (as in the pictures) instead of pressed in a tart pan. It keeps the filling in and is often more crispy. It's probably the one dish that I actually enjoy the edges because who doesn't like extra little nuggets of crust?

The filling for this delicious crostada has some Italian nuances. It starts with a base of ricotta, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, and sauteed leeks. The ricotta adds creaminess while the mozzarella adds gooeyness, and the tomatoes and leeks add some chewiness and a soft flavor background for the toppings, which are sliced tomatoes and zucchini.

For the zucchini, just cut it into coins and cut each coin in half to form half moons. For the tomatoes, I use cherry tomatoes of various colors that I cut in half. Theoretically, you could use regular tomatoes and slice them, but they don't look as pretty, and you tend to lose some of the juiciness and flavor from roasting little tomatoes. When you halve the cherry tomatoes and place them on the tart cut side up, they roast while the tart bakes, emphasizing the juiciness and giving the tart an even more special look. Regular sliced tomatoes would probably just shrivel. Trust me on this and go with the cherry tomatoes, even if you only want to use plain red ones.

To assemble the tart, roll out the dough to about 1/8" or thinner. You want as large a circle as possible, but don't worry if the circle isn't perfect. Mine rarely are, and I just say it's rustic. You then spread the cheese mixture around the crust, leaving about an inch border since you need room to fold the crust up. Top it with the zucchini and tomatoes, fold the edges over, and bake it and you're done! The only thing better than how this crostada looks is how it tastes!

1 Recipe Savory Crust Dough, Chilled (I use this recipe)
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Small Leek, White/Light Green Parts Sliced Thinly
¼ Cup Sliced Sundried Tomatoes
½ Cup Ricotta
½ Cup Shredded Mozzarella
1 Sprig Rosemary, Chopped
1 Small Zucchini, Sliced Thinly
1 ½ Cups Cherry Tomatoes, Halved

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and leeks and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Stir the ricotta, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, and ½ cup of the leek mixture together. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper.

Roll the pie crust dough out to ⅛" thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie tray. Spread the cheese mixture on the dough, leaving a 1" border. Top with the zucchini and tomatoes.

Fold the edges of the crust over and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

Makes 1 Crostada
Recipe Adapted from Recipe Girl

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