Try this great recipe from Theo Michaels, a UK MasterChef semi-finalist and author of the beautiful cookbook, Orexi. This savory tart is a simple dish that shares the vibrant colors of the vegetables, with a beautiful hint of Greek flavors from his special additions, including the cheese and Greek yogurt.
This tart could works as a light lunch with a few dressed green leaves on the side, or you could just pop it on the table for all to share!
Recipe from the cookbook Orexi, Feasting at the Modern Greek Table, a collection of over 80 classic and modern recipes from MasterChef semi-finalist Theo Michaels; paying homage to his heritage by championing new modern dishes inspired by the flavors of Greece and Cyprus. Get the book from The Pappas Post Bookshop or from Amazon.
Greek Vegetable Tart
350g/12oz. ready-made puff pastry
½ red Romano pepper, deseeded
¼ red onion
a generous pinch of Greek dried oregano
a generous pinch of ground cumin
12 baby plum tomatoes
50g/1¾ oz. halloumi cheese
2 tablespoons pine nut kernels
1 tablespoon Greek honey
125g/½ cup Greek yogurt
70 g/2½ oz. feta cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for drizzling
a few sprigs of basil, to garnish (Greek basil if available)
25 x 38-cm/10 x 15-inch baking sheet, lined with baking parchment
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6.
Roll out the puff pastry (if necessary) so that it ﬁts snugly on the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, lightly score all the way round about 2.5cm/1inch inside the edge of the puff pastry and bake in the preheated oven for 10–12 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed up and started to turn golden.
Once the puff pastry is cooked, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly, before gently pushing down the centre of the pastry, leaving you with a little ‘collar’ around the edge.
To prepare the filling, dice the courgette, aubergine and pepper into about 2.5-cm/1-inch cubes and thinly slice the red onion. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season generously with the oregano, cumin and salt and pepper, and roast in the oven on a separate baking sheet for 10 minutes.
Quarter the baby plum tomatoes, grate the halloumi cheese and add both to the roasted vegetables, along with the pine nuts and honey.
When you are ready to assemble, dot the puff pastry base with a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt and then distribute the mixed vegetables over the top, including on top of the yogurt.
Tip: Try to keep the vegetables in one layer; if they are overloaded it will get a little soggy. Finally, crumble the feta in chunks on top, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes just to help all the ingredients snuggle up together.
Once cooked, let it cool slightly and then garnish with a scattering of basil leaves and a good turn of black pepper.
About the book: Orexi!
A collection of over 80 classic and modern recipes from MasterChef semi-finalist Theo Michaels; paying homage to his heritage by championing new modern dishes inspired by the flavors of Greece and Cyprus.
“Kali Orexi” is the Greek equivalent of bon appétit and this enticing book will certainly whet your appetite! Organized in chapters entitled Meze, Sea, Land, Sun and Fire, Theo’s recipes evoke a sense of connection to nature, seasonality, abundance and sociable eating. Fresh ingredients sing from the plate, from juicy watermelon and glossy kalamata olives, to fragrant oregano-roasted lamb and delicate vine-leaf-baked sea bass. Meze features mouth-watering small plates for sharing from whipped dips to meatballs.
The sea is woven into Greek culture and seafood is a staple; enjoy the freshest fish and shellfish cooked simply and served with a squeeze of lemon juice. Meat is a huge part of the Greek diet – rabbit, goat, chicken, lamb are the mainstay with pork enjoyed at Easter celebrations. Cooking over charcoal is part of daily life. The Cypriots use a large rotisserie famous for its souvla (long skewer), while mainland Greece make souvlaki and both BBQ and oven-roasted dishes are included here.
Greek yogurt, along with artisan cheeses (feta, halloumi etc.) can be eaten hot (saganaki) or shaved into vibrant salads and the traditions of ‘horta’ means there are plenty of vegetable dishes to enjoy. Finally, Greek desserts are often just a sweet note to savor with a bitter black coffee or you may prefer a Greek-inspired cocktail such as an Ouzo Sour.
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