Food TV Cooking Club: April

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April’s cooking club recipe was Anna Olson’s Roasted Vegetable Tart. As you might recall, we made her chocolate chip cookies as the recipe of the month back in October, and they were really good. Based on that, I had high hopes for this recipe, but unfortunately it just didn’t stand up to the challenge.

Anna Olson's Roasted Vegetable Tart

The recipe called for ingredients that I really like: fennel, red peppers, feta, and squash, flavoured with lemon and sage and all put into a phyllo pastry crust. However, when put together, the recipe was just ok. Rich and I both enjoyed the flavours, but found the phyllo wasn’t sturdy enough to stand up to the filling; even served cold from the refrigerator, the vegetables all came tumbling out of the crust when served. We also found the recipe to be lacking in protein. It appears that the tart was intended to be served as the main course of a vegetarian dinner, but while the flavours were nice, it left us feeling hungry again soon after.

To modify the recipe, I would probably start with a healthy crust made from whole wheat flour, one that can stand up to the heavy vegetables inside the tart. Or, I would use the phyllo and make little individual bundles and bake until golden brown. Also, as we both found the dish to be a bit heavy on the fennel, I’d probably use only half of what the recipe asks for, and substitute in some other vegetable: some sweet onion would be good, or maybe some crunchy asparagus. I’d also serve it with a nice protein source next time. For vegetarians, grains, beans or tofu would all be easy choices and would pair nicely with the tart. For non-vegetarians, chicken would pair well with the sage flavours of the tart.

Here’s the unmodified recipe, if you’d like to try it for yourself:

Roasted Garlic Vegetable Tart

Yield: 6

1 head of garlic
1 cup canola oil (for making garlic oil. You don’t use all of it in the recipe.)
6 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
Salt and pepper
1 x red bell pepper, diced
1/2 heads sliced fennel
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
Finely grated lemon zest
3 sheets phyllo pastry
4 ounces feta cheese


  1. For roasted garlic oil, preheat oven to 375 F. Peel garlic cloves and place in a baking dish. Cover with oil, stir to coat, and cover dish. Bake until garlic cloves are golden, about 40 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Toss squash with 3 tbsp garlic oil and season lightly. Bake squash, covered for 15 minutes at 375 F, then uncover and reduce temperature to 350 F, and bake until tender, about 20 more minutes.
  3. Toss cooled squash with diced red pepper, sliced fennel, sage and lemon zest. Season to taste.
  4. To assemble tart, increase oven temperature back to 375 F. Spread out 1 sheet of phyllo (keeping other sheets covered). Brush lightly with garlic oil and lay another sheet over. Continue layering remaining phyllo sheets, brushing with garlic oil between each layer. Fold phyllo in half lengthwise and gently lift and place in an non-greased rectangle (4-x- 10 inch) removable-bottom tart pan. Spoon squash filling into tart shell and crumble feta over. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until phyllo is a rich brown.
  5. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.
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