, , , , , , ,

This savory tart bursts with the flavors of summer. There’s no custard – just a sweet blend of tomatoes, roasted red peppers and spices topped with dots of goat cheese and olives.

I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks by one of my favorite cooks, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. The original doesn’t call for any cheese and uses an olive oil crust so it’s vegan.

Before we start, a couple of confessions:

1. I don’t peel and seed tomatoes. Ever. You can if you want to but the finished product has a fine taste and texture without this step.

2. I’m not much of a baker, so I usually cheat and use a store-bought pie crust. If you are making your own crust, use a recipe suitable for a 9 inch pie pan.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, diced
1 1/2 pounds ripe roma tomatoes, diced
3 large red bell peppers
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp chopped basil
salt and pepper
2 oz goat cheese
8-10 kalamata olives, halved and pitted

Halve and core the red peppers. Broil until skins blacken and separate. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven to 400 and pre-bake your crust.

In the mean time, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Crush the saffron and fennel into the skillet and add 1/2 tsp salt.

Peel the skins off of the roasted peppers. Set aside 2/3 of one pepper and dice the rest.

Roasted red peppers

Add the diced peppers to the tomato mixture and keep cooking and stirring until it is quite thick (about 30 minutes from when you added the tomatoes). Add the basil and taste for salt and pepper.

Pour the filling into the crust. Slice the remaining pepper into thin strips and arrange red pepper strips on top to make a checkerboard pattern. Place kalamata halves and dollops of goat cheese in alternating squares.

Bake for about 35 minutes at 400, until the cheese is just starting to brown. Cool and serve.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course.