Monday, September 29, 2008
Most of you know I teach high school. Many of you may not know that I teach at the High School that Michael Phelps graduated from not so long ago. His hometown has been a little crazy this year, to say the least. You'd have to live under a rock to avoid hearing his name every 5 minutes. Although I never taught him, I've met him since he won his 8 golds in Beijing (when he came to thank our principal) and one of my good friends taught alongside his mom. Next weekend they'll hold an Olympian parade in front of Towson U to honor himself, Katie Hoff and the other Baltimore olympians and many of us are walking in it.
Now, as you know, Micheal Phelps is known for eating lots of food. Not really very good quality food, just in massive quantities. He's known for downing a dozen eggs, pancakes, waffles, sausage, etc, etc at breakfast and following up with tons of pizza and chinese food. I think it's time his taste took a slightly more balanced route, with more veggies and sophisticated flavors. If it was my job to lure him over to the other side, I'd do it with this tart.
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen's butternut squash galette, my rustic fall tart is even spicer with a mellow note from good blue cheese and a kick from a parmesan and black pepper crust. This was a rockin snack on a stormy autumn afternoon. I highly recommend it, as does L, a normally vehement squash hater.
Parmesan Peppercorn Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup grated parmaggiano reggiano
1 Tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In a small bowl, combine flour, parmesan, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add ice water, a few drops at a time, until mixture stays together when pressed. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour.
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp butter
1 large red onion
2 Tbsp garlic rosemary seasoning
1/4 cup cream sherry
1/4 cup good quality mild blue cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss squash with a drizzle of olive oil until coated. Turn out onto a baking sheet. Roast until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and toss with seasonings.
Meanwhile, saute onions in butter until caramelized. Add seasoning and deglaze with sherry. Cook until sherry has reduced to a syrupy glaze.
Roll out dough to a 13 inch round. Top with onions, then blue cheese and finally spiced squash. Fold edges of crust over filling, leaving the middle open, and pleat to fit.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and flaky.