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This gorgeous Summer Vegetable Torte is a real show stopper! Better yet – it’s as delicious to eat as it is pretty to look at!This Summer Vegetable Torte also happens to be a great way to cook with all of those ripe, luscious summer vegetables and those savory herbs that are growing like gangbusters in your backyard garden. It is similar to a crustless quiche or a frittata, and loaded with fantastic flavor. Half-round slices of zucchini are salted and roasted so that they give up some of their liquid and also lightly caramelize. Then the slices are layered in a springform pan along with sautéed red onion, fresh garden cherry or grape tomatoes, plus garlic, fresh basil and oregano. Then a creamy egg and cheese custard is poured over the vegetables – then this Summer Vegetable Torte is baked until cooked through. It bakes up firm, but still creamy and delicious. This Summer Vegetable Torte is surely one of my favorite ways to eat summer garden vegetables – and I think you’ll love it too! What I also love about this Summer Vegetable Torte is that it feeds a crowd – so it’s perfect for a midsummer dinner party. It can be made ahead of time – then serve it at room temperature or warm it up slightly. (Any leftovers also reheat nicely – so you’ll have a wonderful lunch the next day!) It can be served as a vegetarian main course with a side salad, or it can be served as a side dish alongside your favorite grilled meats. This Summer Vegetable Torte recipe is based very loosely on a zucchini pie recipe we saw in a recent issue of Cooking Light magazine.
3 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into quarter inch half circle slices, skin left on
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup red onion cut into small slices
1 pint sweet grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh garlic minced
7 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup whole milk
¼ cup all-purpose flour (*see Note below)
1 cup mozzarella shredded
1 cup Parmesan freshly grated
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 dash hot sauce
Butter to grease 9” spring form pan
Place the zucchini in a colander and coat with the one tablespoon of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes tossing occasionally.
While the zucchini is giving up its water, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a sheet pan with a rack.
After the zucchini sits for 30 minutes, rinse off the salt, drain and pat dry with a few paper towels.
Pour the zucchini slices onto the rack and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove and cool.
Keep oven at 375 degrees F.
While the zucchini is drying out, in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, place two tablespoons of the olive oil and add the red onion. Sauté for three minutes.
Add the remaining oil along with the cut tomatoes, basil, oregano and garlic and sauté until the tomatoes are starting to get soft, about 2-3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with cream, milk, flour, mozzarella, Parmesan, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
Add cooled zucchini and cooled tomato mixture and gently stir.
Generously butter a 9” spring form pan and cover the bottom and outside with one piece of foil. The spring form pan WILL leak so make sure the foil covers the entire outside.
Place a rack over a pan (we used a round cooling rack on a round pizza pan) and place the spring form pan on top of the rack.
Pour the mixture into the buttered spring form pan and place in the oven for 50 minutes.
After 50 minutes, examine the top for browning and if the top is brown but the custard is not quite set, cover with foil for an additional 10-20 minutes or until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Don’t mistake a little water from the zucchini as uncooked custard. Ours took one hour and eight minutes. Once I pulled it from the oven, I kept the foil tightly over the top and it cooked for a few more minutes sitting outside the oven while it set up because the custard was a tiny bit loose in the center when I removed it from the oven.
Let set for 15 minutes before serving.
After 15 minutes, run a small thin knife blade around outside of the custard before releasing the spring form pan walls. Then cut into pie wedges right from the spring form bottom plate.
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*Note – we’ve made this with and without adding the flour. Without the flour, it is gluten free but bakes up with a little water that puddles on the top from the zucchini. (3-4 tablespoons so not a show stopper). With the flour, it bakes up firm.