It’s now officially Lent, and I am having a good, old-fashioned case of Catholic guilt.
I’m feeling guilty about not posting enough on the blog. I’m feeling guilty about posting anything on the blog when I really should be working on the new book. And today, I’m especially feeling guilty about posting pretty close-ups of food. Somehow, it doesn’t feel very penitential. Lenten fasting and all that.
To moderately assuage my guilt, I’m going to try to only post photos of meatless meals during Lent. To help with Friday dinner planning, of course.
Although, again, even with the lack of meat, “penitential” isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind when I think about this cauliflower and gruyere tart.
So, what words do come to mind? “Cozy”; I made this on a snowy Saturday afternoon, when everything in me was craving warmth and comfort. Also, “savory”; a buttery crust, paired with a rich gruyere, salty peccorino-romano, golden roasted cauliflower, and just a hint of spice…mmmm. And most important of all, “easy”. So, so easy. Shamefully easy. Ridiculously easy. Shockingly easy.
Mind you, there was a time, when I’d see a picture of anything with a crust (or anything called a tart) and think, “Nope. No way. Don’t have time for that.” But, that was when I was only eating tarts—not baking them. Once I actually braved the great, wide world of tarts, it was a different story. That’s especially true of rustic tarts like this one (which is really more of a gallette…a fancy word for a rustic pie).
All this recipe requires is about 5 minutes to make the dough, an hour to let it chill, maybe 15 minutes to roll it out and toss some toppings onto it, then about 40 minutes to bake. In theory, you can do this with a baby strapped to your back, a toddler pulling at your leg, and a teenager asking you questions about the symbolism woven into “The Scarlett Letter.” There’s even ample time built into this recipe to walk away from the kitchen, change diapers, and stop warring siblings from slaughtering each other. Or to pay your electric bill, address a dozen Save the Date cards, and switch out your laundry. Mileage will vary.
Regardless, this recipe is pure Friday gold.
Prep Time: 20 minutes active, 60 minutes inactive
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Borrowed from Sweet Paul
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 to 7 tablespoons ice water
- 1/2 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino-romano cheese
- 2 ounces sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 handful fresh spinach leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Two pinches of kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour and salt.
- Cut the butter into the bowl and work it into the flour using your hands. It will be crumbly.
- Add water, one Tablespoon at a time, until a smooth dough forms. Be careful not to over work it.
- Wrap in saran wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
- While the dough chills, cut up your cauliflower, grate your cheese, and drink a glass of win. Or do some laundry. Or do both.
- Preheat oven to 380F.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface. It does not have to be pretty or round or Pinterest ready. It just needs to be flat and big enough to hold the toppings.
- Transfer the dough to a baking sheet. I lined mine with parchment paper.
- In a separate bowl, toss the cauliflower with olive oil and salt to coat.
- Scatter cheeses, cauliflower, crushed pepper, and spinach onto the crust, leaving about two inches on all sides.
- Fold in the sides to shape the tart.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
- If cauliflower isn’t your thing, try it with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella. Or asparagus, goat cheese, and mozzarella. Or, if it’s Saturday, brussels sprouts, bacon, and the same cheese mixture used on this tart.
- I served this with pan-fried kale. It made me feel better about all the butter. but a salad or bowl of soup would also pair nicely with it.
- This dish is very rich, so keep that in mind when planning portions. I had two of the eight small slices. Chris managed three. Although he declared it one of the best things I’ve ever made, even he couldn’t eat more. Again, rich.
- UPDATE: This is so not an exact science, but if you’re wondering how much to roll the dough out, aim for roughly 10 inches round. Mine, because I take the words “free form” very literally usually ends up being more of an awkward, jagged oval…but it all turns out tasty and looks pretty just the same. See? Folding in those corners does wonders!