Puff pastry was a staple of lockdown in our house. The ready-rolled, all-butter ones are very good and easy to use, and the vegan ones available are equally impressive. You can grill or roast any seasonal vegetable and throw it on a slab of puff: tomatoes, aubergines, new potatoes, asparagus … There are endless permutations, including which continent you go to for your flavour inspiration. Here, I am in an eastern European mood with the dill, mint and yoghurt, lifted by the lemon, garlic and toasted sesame.
Grilled courgette and mint tart with tahini cream
This stunning tart, with its light, summery herbs and crisp pastry, is at home on any summer table.
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed with a little salt
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Salt and black pepper
3-4 courgettes (about 700g), cut into 1cm-thick strips
1 handful each dill and mint leaves, chopped
1 x 320g ready-rolled puff pastry
3 tbsp tahini
5 tbsp Greek yoghurt
20g parmesan, finely grated
1 egg, beaten
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Heat a grill or griddle pan over a high heat. Put half the garlic in a bowl with the lemon zest and two tablespoons of the oil, and season generously. Add the courgettes and half the herbs and toss well to coat. When the pan is smoking hot, griddle the courgettes on each side until tender and lightly charred – three to four minutes – then set aside.
Put the rest of olive oil, the lemon juice, tahini, the remaining garlic and the yoghurt in the same mixing bowl and blitz with a stick blender (or just whisk together) until the mix is the consistency of double cream. Thin with water, if need be, then season to taste.
Unroll the pastry on a baking sheet, keeping it on its greaseproof paper. Spread about two thirds of the tahini cream over the pastry with a palette knife or spoon, leaving a 2.5cm border all the way around the edge. Arrange the courgette slices on top of the cream down the middle of the tart. Drizzle over the rest of the cream, crumble over the feta and sprinkle with the parmesan. Brush the border with the beaten egg, then bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden and puffed up.
Scatter over the herbs and serve at once with a crisp green salad.
And for the rest of the week …
Some find the texture of cooked courgette tricky. Instead, try peeling them raw into a salad (yellow courgettes look particularly stunning). I also love courgette spaghetti sauteed with olive oil, herbs and garlic – julienne peelers cost very little and take up much less space than a mandoline.