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Sometimes I am so naive and oblivious that I wonder how I’ve made it to the ripe old age of 26. Up until recently, I watched on in awe as the illustrious people of Instagram showcased their perfectly, uniformly sliced carrot batons, leaving me wondering why mine ranged from the side of a matchstick to the size of half an entire carrot.
Newly enlightened, that is, told of the concept of a mandoline, I knew I had to acquire one. While they can be a truly terrifying contraption (A lot of Instagram followers have suggested to invest in a mandoline glove) the accuracy and ease with which they cut previously irritating-to-cut vegetables cannot be overlooked. Go on, treat yourself. And your followers.
This tart crust is a grain free riff on a regular ol’ tart crust. What is my fixation with grain free, you ask? Basically, as I’ve been seeing various doctors, but also playing around with my own diet, it has become apparent that grains and I aren’t always friends. This is a highly individual aspect of my delicate digestive system, but I’m aware that for a lot of people (those with autoimmune diseases, those following the specific carbohydrate diet, etc) benefit from minimising or eliminating grains from their diet. Pls note that I am not advocating (and am in fact very much against) such a shift in eating purely for ‘health fitspo clean eating’ purposes, but merely offering an alternative for those who actually need to grain free, or grain minimal, for the sake of their everyday health.
Zucchini, ricotta and herb tart
FOR THE GRAIN FREE TART CRUST:
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 1 ½ cups almond meal
- 80 g butter
- 1 egg
- 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
- 20 g freshly grated parmesan
FOR THE GRAIN FREE TART FILLING:
- 500 g firm ricotta from the deli
- ½ cup water
- 2 eggs
- 100 g freshly grated parmesan
- 30-50 g capers depending on how much you luff capers
- 75 g Persian or Danish feta
- 1 bunch mint finely chopped
- 1 bunch dill finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 3-4 medium sized zucchinis
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- In your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the tart crust, until it comes together into a dough. Grease your tart tin and press the dough into it until it is nice and snug. Discard any leftover dough. Poke a few lil fork holes in the base to allow air to escape, and then pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, mix together the ingredients for the filling. Loosen the ricotta with the water, and then add the eggs, salt and pepper, nutmeg, chilli, and cheeses. Continue to stir until all combined. Add the chopped herbs and capers last, and stir them through thoroughly.
- Use your mandoline (being very careful of your fingers - I learned that lesson for you) slice your zucchini lengthways into the finest slices you can. Once you've done this, slice each of those thin slices in half, lengthways (so you have two long slices instead of one) - the easiest way to do this is by hand (I'm not tricky enough to do this with my mandoline yet)
- Once the base is cooked and cooled, pour the cheesy ricotta mixture into it, and smooth it over.
- Now for the fun part. Take one zucchini ribbon, and curl it around itself, until it becomes a little circle. Get it as tight a circle as you can, and plonk this circle in the middle of the tart, pressing it down into the ricotta a little. Continue to wrap your zucchini around this centre circle, and keep going and going and going until you have completely covered the tart in zucchini. This step is actually a whole lot easier than it looks, I promise. Plus, I've taken a few progress shots below.
- Pop the tart into the oven, and cook for around 40 minutes to an hour. The zucchini might leak liquid - you can either drain it (covered in salt to extract moisture) beforehand, or you can just use a bit of kitchen towel to suck the moisture off the top of the tart after it cooks. That is the infinitely easier option.
- Gently cut (the oodles of zucchini slices necessitate a sharp knife and decisive cutting) and eat!