Melted cheese over steamed vegetables has always been a popular side dish. But when I came across an old Iowa Farmer’s Almanac recipe for roasted vegetables served in a cheese crust, it turned everything upside down for me and became one of my favorite ways to enjoy seasonal produce.
The instructions were as follows: “Roast over a hot fire, one handful each of four or five vegetables in season. Make a crust of cheese and cornmeal. Use crust as a plate to serve vegetables in.”
I need no excuse to channel my inner farm girl, so I went right to the task of figuring out what kind of heat would equal a “hot fire” and which vegetables would taste best snuggled in a cornmeal and cheese crust.
Whether you take my vegetable suggestions, or choose your own combination, you’re going to end up with a delicious festival of flavor in a savory cheese crust.
Ingredients - Crust:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1⁄3 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ingredients - filling
1 cup broccoli flowerets
1 cup cauliflower flowerets
1 cup baby carrots (mini’s are best)
½ red onion, cut in large chunks
1 cup small white mushrooms cut in half
1 cup zucchini, sliced ½ inch thick
3-4 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin, then sliced in half
1 ½ cups cheddar or mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Combine vegetables in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to completely coat vegetables.
Spread vegetables evenly on a large baking sheet and bake at 475 degrees, turning often, until vegetables are browned and thoroughly cooked, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Reduce oven to 400 degrees. Lightly butter an approximately 10-inch tart or pie pan.
In a bowl, whisk egg until frothy. Whisk in milk and oil.
In another bowl, combine cornmeal, cheddar, parmesan, sugar and salt. Stir into egg mixture until well blended.
Press crust mixture over bottom and halfway up the sides of pan.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. (If crust bubbles during cooking process, poke down with fork or skewer. You may have to do several times.)
Sprinkle ½ cup cheddar cheese over crust. Pour half of the vegetables over top. Sprinkle another ½ cup cheddar cheese over vegetables.
Pour in remaining vegetables and finish with ½ cup cheddar cheese and two tablespoons of parmesan.
Slice the tomato slices in half and place them in scallop design around the edges of the tart. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden on top.