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Roasted Broccoli-Red Bell Pepper Tart with Polenta Crust

Since I’ve been back at yoga now for two weeks (which means waking up at the crack of dawn to get to class on the other side of town), I’m eating dinner much earlier and lighter, too, two very unFrenchy things to do. We’ll see how long this lasts, but in the meantime, I’m going to do what I can to stick to the program.

I wanted to come up with a veggie-loaded tart, and I figured that roasted broccoli (one of the best ways to get X to eat broccoli) and roasted red bell pepper would make fine companions, and for good measure, threw in some green onions, too, and in the sneakiest move of all, perhaps, I used whites to cut back on the fat, and then, well, added back some fat with the cheese.  Also, I experimented with my crust and came up with this new one, which I just love — see how thick it is? Just enough corn meal to give it that slightly sweet taste, with a bit of crunch, too.

This is the tart before I poured the eggy mixture on top. See, it’s mostly veggies. Aren’t they gorgeous?

You can’t see it here, but there’s shredded cheese hiding on the bottom of this. Heh, heh.

How’d it turn out? Well, X sat down, as he does when he sees something that he’s not sure he’s gonna like, and says diplomatically, because after all, he is French, “Just a little piece,OK? I’m not that hungry.”

And I, of course, ignored him.  “No, you’ll love this. Here, try it,” I said, handing him his plate with a regular size piece.

Which he happily gobbled up, then had two more. Another winner, he said.

Roasted Broccoli-Red Bell Pepper Tart

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1 large red bell pepper, but into 1-inch pieces
3-4 green onions, sliced (white part only)
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 egg whites
1 cup skim milk (I use demi-écrémé in France)
4 oz grated Comté (you may also use cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, or your favorite melty cheese)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 recipe polenta tart crust, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to Broil.

On a foil-lined cookie sheet, place the broccoli florets, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and pepper, too.

On a separate foil-lined cookie sheet, lay out the red bell pepper pieces, skin side up, and drizzle the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper.

Finally, on a third, smaller pan, also lined with foil, lay out the green onion and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper this, too.

Slide the broccoli into the oven, let it cook about 15 minutes, or until the florets are brown and crispy, and take it out. Do the same with the red bell peppers, and then the green onions. (These cook at slightly different times, and it’s just easier to do it this way.)

Once the veggies are roasted, leave them on their pans to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix up the egg whites, egg, milk and salt and pepper, along with the shredded cheese (it’ll sink to the bottom, but you can spoon it out).

Reduce the heat to 190C/375 F.

Assemble the tart. First, lay as many broccoli florets as you can into the uncooked, refrigerated tart crust — if they all fit, like mine did, all the better. Then add all or as much of the red bell pepper as you’d like, and top with the onions. Make sure the veggies fill the tart and are evenly distributed. Now, gently pour the egg-milk mixture over the veggies. You’ll probably need to use your fingers to squish the cheese down a bit between the broccoli – just make sure that this, too is evenly distributed throughout the tart.

Slide into the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is brown. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Cowgirl Tip: You can roast the veggies and make the tart crust ahead of time.

Polenta Tart Crust
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup polenta or yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
½ cup ice water (you may not need all of this, so just add a little at a time)

Grease the tart pan with a tiny bit of olive oil if it doesn’t have a non-stick coating.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, and sea salt. Add the oil and honey and mix a bit — by hand — and then add the water and mix just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Now, on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit tart pan. Trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Fill the tart, and bake (or blind bake, depending on what you’re using it for) at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.