Matt is on a business trip right now & usually when that happens I go to the local gourmet grocery store & buy myself a prepared dinner. This time though, I had all these vegetables on hand from the farm which really inspired me to make myself something special instead.
When we got the beets in this last CSA box I knew I wanted to do something more than just roast them & put them on a salad (as much as I love that) so I decided to experiment with a roasted beet tart. I choose goat cheese to go with it because I thought the tartness of it would be a nice foil to the sweetness of the roasted beets.
The idea to do a polenta crust came from Allen at Eating Out Loud in a post he wrote about experimenting with healthier ways to make crust. It really intrigued me & since I had a box of instant polenta in the house I figured this was as good a time as any to try it. All & all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. It held its shape well when I removed it from the tart pan as well as holding the filling in. The top edges became a little crisp while cooking which I liked for texture. The rest of the crust stayed pretty soft & almost melted together with the filling when you ate it. Its not the same as a pastry crust but definitely a tasty option.
I ate two of these small tarts for dinner served with a salad. It was a perfect light meal. These turned out so pretty that I think they would also make a beautiful first course for a fancy dinner party.
Roast Beet & Goat Cheese Tart with Polenta Crust
4 small beets, peeled & sliced about 1/8-inch thick (I had golden beets but I think red would be really pretty too)
1 medium onion, sliced thin (I used a Spanish Sweet "Candy" Onion but any will do)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced thin
4 oz instant polenta
2 c chicken broth (you can also use water or vegetable broth is you prefer)
1 large egg
1/4 c cream
1 T fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
fresh ground pepper
2 t goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F. Make a small tray with sides big enough to hold the sliced beets, onions & garlic from a doubled piece of tin foil.
Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil & sprinkle with a little salt. Stir to coat the vegetables. Place the tray on a cookie sheet & into the oven. Allow to roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until the vegetables are turning brown & soft, you want to make sure they are getting caramelized & sweet.
While the vegetables are roasting, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a little salt. Slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce heat to low & continue to stir for about 5 minutes until any lumps are gone & you have a very thick consistency. Remove the polenta from the heat & allow it to cool. Using olive oil, grease four 4.5-inch tart pans with removable bottoms, make sure to get in all the corners so your tart doesn't stick. Once the polenta is cool enough to touch divide it into the tart pans pressing it into the sides & bottoms to form a 1/4-inch crust, you may have a little extra polenta. If you find the polenta a little sticky to work with wet your fingers.
When the vegetables are done set them aside & reduce the oven temperature to 350 F. Place the tart pans on a cookie sheet & into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg & cream together. Stir in the parsley, a pinch of salt & a few grinds of pepper.
After the crust have bakes for 10 minutes take them out of the oven. Divide the roasted beets, onions & garlic between the four tarts. Spoon the egg & cream mixture over the vegetables, use the back of your spoon to help press it in very gently. Crumble the goat cheese over the top of the tarts.
Return to the oven & bake for 15 - 20 minutes. The filling should be set & slightly puffed up. The goat cheese & edges of the tart should be beginning to brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the tart pan.
Make 4 small tarts.
(A few weeks later I made this into a large tart to serve 4 -5 plus I added bacon, here's the details.)
This is my savory (as opposed to sweet) entry for the new food event over at What's Cooking.
Ben is hosting a bi-weekly event for people who love to bake with prizes for both sweet & savory entries. The first deadline is August 7th so preheat those ovens & join the fun.