[Recipe 2] ROASTED RED CAPSICUM and FRESH HERB TART
The last couple of weeks have whizzed past in an absolute blur, with both boys at school, me back at work, and all the extra-curricular stuff. My 8-year old has joined Cub Scouts (so gorgeous in his ‘new chum’ scarf). My youngest started school and is loving it, which I’m brow-moppingly relieved about. I was expecting tears, but we were both fine.
There hasn’t been a great deal of fancy cooking going on around here, but these two meals were lovely, and they’re bright red – perfect for Valentine’s Day!
I made a big batch of marinated red capsicum last week, after scoring a huge bag of capsicums at Prahran market. I’ve been marinating capsicum for years. It’s super easy, and you can use it in sooo many different ways. My sister-in-law served up the classic bruschetta combo of roasted red capsicum (bell peppers), goat’s cheese and fresh basil as appetizers on Christmas day, and I gorged myself. We copied it last Saturday for lunch and on Sunday I whipped up a rather yummy Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart, which we brought to a BBQ at our neighbour’s house.
The husband and I took the remaining marinated capsicum to work for lunch, and scoffed it on fresh rye bread (from the fabulous Baker in the Rye) with rocket and Hungarian salami (from the equally fabulous Leon’s Smallgoods).
So… I’m all bell-peppered out, but it was excellent while it lasted.
Ingredients for the marinated roasted red capsicum (makes 2–2½ cups):
1½ kilos (3¼ lb) large red capsicums (bell peppers), quartered; membranes and seeds removed
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and very thinly sliced
½ cup (125ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 bay leaves
For the bruschetta (serves 4–6):
1 loaf good-quality, chewy Italian bread (ciabatta or pasta dura), sliced
Extra virgin olive oil, extra, for brushing
60g (2 oz) goat’s cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil leaves, torn, to serve
Preheat oven to 250°C (480ºF).
Place capsicums on one or two trays lined with baking paper. Roast for 25–30 minutes, until skin is blistered and blackened.
Place capsicum pieces into a large bowl and cover with cling wrap or a lid for ten minutes (the steam will soften the skins).
Peel skin off capsicums, and slice. Return to the large bowl, with the garlic slices, oil and vinegar. Season and gently mix together. Divide mixture amongst 3 sterilised jars and place a bay leaf in each. Seal and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Marinated capsicums will keep for up to 3 months.
♦ Reserve 1 cup of marinated roasted red capsicum for the Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart.
For the bruschetta, preheat a barbecue or chargrill on high. Brush bread lightly with oil on both sides. Chargrill bread slices, for 1–2 minutes each side, until you have lovely black stripes! Place toasted bread slices on a serving platter or board. Spread lightly with goats cheese, and top with a little mound of capsicum mixture. Scatter with fresh basil. Serve immediately.
- Marinated roasted red capsicum can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months, in sterilized jars.
- Glass jars, lids and rubber rings can be sterilised by running them through your dishwasher on the hottest cycle, on the top shelf. Jars should be hot when the capsicums are poured in, so time your sterilising to coincide with when your capsicums are ready.
- Fussy kid tip: My boys love char-grilled ciabatta smeared with avocado and a tuna/mayo combo. If you have the time, a Smörgasboard-style weekend lunch is a bit of fun.
[Recipe 2] Roasted red capsicum and fresh herb tart
Ingredients (serves 6):
1½ sheets store-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed (or ½ quantity home-made shortcrust pastry)
3 tablespoons grated parmesan (or Parmigiano Reggiano) cheese
150ml (5 fl oz) cream (I use light cooking cream)
½ cup basil leaves, chopped
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus extra for scattering
♦ 1 cup reserved marinated roasted red capsicum, drained, bay leaf discarded
60g (2 oz) goat’s cheese or goat’s fetta, crumbled
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Grease a 3cm (1-inch) deep, 25cm (10-inch) fluted tart tin, with removable base.
If using home-made pastry, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between 2 sheets of baking paper) until 3mm (⅛-inch) thick. Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle (joining pieces together if necessary) about 4cm (1½-inch) wider in diameter than your tart tin.
Line the tart tin with pastry, gently pressing down into the edges, and trim to fit.
Blind bake the pastry to prevent it going soggy: cover pastry base with baking paper and fill with pastry weights (or uncooked rice). Bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove paper and weights. Bake for a further 10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Scatter parmesan over tart base.
Whisk eggs and cream together and pour into tart case, followed by the fresh herbs.
♦ Spoon reserved roasted red capsicum mixture over the filling.
Dot with crumbled goat’s cheese. Bake for 35 minutes until the filling is set. Serve at room temperature, scattered with extra chopped parsley.
- You can make and blind bake the pastry case ahead and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Pastry can also be frozen for up to two months – defrost overnight in the fridge.
- If you’re working with fresh pastry (not frozen) you could freeze an extra uncooked pastry base too. I almost always make two, and freeze one for future use. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and blind-bake.
- Fussy kid tip: You can make a half-and-half tart with a child-friendly section containing grated carrot, grated zucchini (courgette) and grated tasty cheese (instead of the goat’s cheese).