Italian Romanesco, Mozzarella & Garlic Tart: Meat free recipe
Romanesco cauliflower tart with cheese and garlic - easy meat-free recipe
This is a fabulous way to cook any type of cauliflower but we had bought a beautiful Romanesco version that almost demanded an Italian treatment.
This is an excellent way of cooking cauliflower and is a magnificent vegetable in its own right - but encasing the vegetable and cheese in a pastry case elevates it to entertaining-quality. (Also, if you are serving this as a meat-free lunch or dinner, it satisfies those with even the heartiest appetites.)
I serve this with the simplest accompaniments - crisp salad leaves and juicy lemon wedges. It's ideal for a meat-free meal but also delicious as a side dish or appetizer.
We always eat this while it's still hot from the oven but I imagine that it would be equally delicious if served cold as part of a buffet.
It's also a great dish to include in a leisurely brunch. You can cook the pastry case in advance, roast the cauliflower and make the cheese sauce, then simply assemble and bake.
What you'll need
- 1 medium Romanesco cauliflower (you can use a regular cauliflower if you wish)
- 1 tablespoon good olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic - more or less if you wish - peeled and thinly sliced
- Pastry - I used half a tub of Pillsbury Gluten-Free (or a pre-baked pastry case)
- Scant teaspoon whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 3 oz. cheese - I used Cheddar - shredded
- 6 slices mozzarella
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To serve:Salad leaves and lemon wedges
How to make this quick and easy dish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a baking tray inside containing the olive oil - it will be warming up along with the oven.
- Whilst this is happening trim the cauliflower and break into florets.When the oil is hot and the oven is up to temperature, add the florets, black pepper and the sliced garlic, then shake the tray so that they are evenly coated with the oil. Return it to the oven for about twenty minutes. Once in a while, give the pan a shake to mingle the flavours.
- Then (unless you are using a ready prepared pastry case) line a quiche tin, preferably but not essentially, one with a removable base, with pastry. This too goes into the oven to bake blind. The brand I use needs about 20 - 25 minutes but do check your pack's instructions.
- Remove the Romanesco / garlic mix from the oven and sprinkle with the flour. Stir well, being sure not to break up the florets, then add the milk. Again, stir together well. Add the shredded cheese and black pepper and again, stir to combine the flavours.The heat of the pan will most likely melt the cheese but if not, return it to the oven until the cheese melts.
- Pile the cauliflower mix into the now-cooked pastry case. Top with the slices of mozzarella and place it in the oven until the mozzarella melts - just a few minutes.
- Serve with mixed salad leaves and wedges of lemon.
We had the very devil of a time finding a proper quiche baking dish with a removeable base. The base makes it so much easier to slice and serve.
Even though we have several specialist kitchen equipment stores locally, this is one item they never seemed to stock. You can imagine my relief when we found the one below - easily ordered online.
We were even more delighted when we found the seeds so that we could grow the vegetable ourselves. (Well, we gave them to a neighbour for his garden on the understanding that we could have some of the produce).
It's very rare for us to find these in the local supermarket.We buy them occasionally at the farmer's market but the prices are a little steep there. Thank goodness for our neighbour and his green thumb.
A few years ago, we had such a hard time finding a quiche tin with a removeable base. Of course, any baking dish will do but I love the fluted look of the cooked result.The loose base makes it simplicity itself to serve the tart - and not a drop is wasted. Luckily, they are now available online.
© 2014 Jackie Jackson