Some people are afraid of yeast so they don’t make bread. Some people are afraid of crusts so they don’t make tarts or pies. (I myself am afraid of frosting layer cakes but I don’t let it stop me.) So, If I say “tart”, are you one of those people who gets scared? Truth be told, I find crusts can be tricky even thought I have made a lot of them. Every time I make a pie, I say a little prayer to the crust gods to make things go smoothly. My only advice is that it helps to have a good recipe and lots of practice.
If you do suffer from a crust phobia, please make this pie. I would say it’s like a crust-less quiche, but it does in fact have a crust. It is nothing more than some breadcrumbs sprinkled into a buttered pie plate, but somehow just that little bit of attention makes it more elegant, interesting, and also helps hold the slices together. The lack of a butter and/or shortening crust also makes a slice much lighter and healthier – so you can be a little more heavy-handed with the cheese.
This is one of many Jeanne Lemlin tarts that I have made – all easy, all delicious. It is totally adaptable and great for lunch, brunch, or dinner. Although she says it is important to use Swiss cheese in this one to help keep it all together, I bet you could substitute another firm cheese and have it turn out fabulously well.
One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Zucchini, Tomato, and Swiss Cheese Pie
Adapted from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup bread crumbs
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fennel seed
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
¼ pound grated Swiss cheese
3 tbsp. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Butter a 9 inch pie plate, then sprinkle the bread crumbs all over the sides and bottom. Allow whatever loose crumbs are there to just sit on the bottom.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to just coat the bottom, then add the onion. Sauté until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in the diced tomatoes and sauté another 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high. Mix in the zucchini, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Cook until the zucchini is barely tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool 5 minutes. (The recipe may be prepared in a dvance to this point an dchilled up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the zucchini mixture. Pour half into the prepared pie plate, top with the Swiss cheese, then pour on the remaining vegetable mixture. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top.
4. Bake 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.