Last Hurrah

Although I haven't been giving my garden the attention it deserves, it has continued to grow with wild abandon. The lettuces are now all passed their prime, the coriander has gone to seed -which is not a bad thing, as green coriander is in a flavour register of its own. Whatever strawberries that persist on appearing on the plants get snatched up by a wile squirrel, and a few herbs have decided to depart from this world. 

Yet, the runner beans are finally setting pods after having set flowers over a month ago.

The tomatoes are doing well, though I have momentary doubts that they will actually ripen before the arrival of frost... Ah well, if I end up with a harvest of green tomatoes, I can always churn out a batch of green tomato ketchup.In any case, for those of you who do have a few ripe tomatoes on hand, whether from the shop or the garden, this tart could be a quick and simple meal to enjoy tonight.

The harvest tart is a bit of a fridge cleaner-outer; it is also a very handy recipe for those who are perplexed by their CSA baskets. The following is more a guideline than a recipe, so here are a few pictures to inspire you.

Start with a sheet of puff pastry. Prick it all over with a fork to prevent the pastry from puffing up too much in the oven, leaving a little border. Layer sliced tomatoes, olives and thin slivers of onions. Season with salt and pepper, then pop in a hot oven (200°C/450°F) until the edges of the pastry are puffed up and golden, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a quick salad with whatever you happen to have on hand. Thin ribbons of zucchini can be made with a vegetable peeler; sugar snap peas and runner beans can be sliced on the diagonal; green onions are a zippy addition. If you can get a hold of fresh corn on the cob, just cut them off the cob, and add to the salad. Kohlrabi can add lots of crunch and colour, and fennel is a boost of flavour. For extra colour, toss in a few more tomatoes and olives. Add a few torn leaves of basil and roquette, season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Pile the colourful vegetables on top of the hot tart. Pop back into the oven for another five or six minutes, just to wilt the tougher greens a little and warm them through.

You can serve the tarts straight from the oven , or top with torn shreds of mozzarella, or any other cheese -a creamy goat's cheese would be lovely. As a starter on its own, or a main with a side salad.

Bon app'!


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