I'm not sure why or how but years ago, I began a tradition of eating at a Michelin star restaurant when I travel abroad. It's now one of the highlights of every trip. On my latest vacation to Greece, I had the chance to dine at Botrini's. Every single course was impeccable, so much so that Botrini's might just be my favorite Michelin star restaurant to date. One of the highlights for me was their zucchini tart. Layers of zucchini are baked on an olive puff pastry, topped with shaved truffle, and served with a goat cheese sauce. In remembrance of that truly spectacular dish, here is my version. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
- 4 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (8.6 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- truffle oil for serving
Olive tapenade feta filling
- ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 ½ teaspoons capers
- 1 garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt plain
- 1 large egg
- 2 ounces crumbled feta
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Thinly slice zucchini into 1/16 inch thick round slices. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and place in colander. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Lightly flour a clean working counter with flour. Slightly roll out puff pastry so that it's big enough to cover a 9-inch pie dish. Transfer puff pastry to baking dish and gently press dough into dish to create a crust. Trim excess dough. Poke puff pastry with fork to prevent from puffing up. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make olive tapenade feta filling. Pulse together olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer tapenade to a bowl and add Greek yogurt, egg, feta, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. Spread olive filling in an even layer on puff pastry.
- Line baking sheet pan with paper towels and lay zucchini slices on top. Pat dry. Arrange zucchini slices on tart so that they're standing up, slightly overlapping the slices until the entire tart is covered. You may have extra zucchini slices.
- Drizzle zucchini with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake zucchini tart for 45 - 55 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Slice zucchini tart and place dollop of creme fraiche on top. Drizzle with truffle oil if desired (but highly recommended!).
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Right off the bat, I knew I couldn't replicate Botrini's zucchini tart exactly because of their crust. They use an olive puff pastry as their base. I had no intention of making my own from scratch so I decided to go another route. I decided to use storebought puff pastry and make an olive filling.
Store-bought puff pastry is one of the few items that I would gladly buy than make myself. I can honestly say, if I made it from scratch, it won't be as good as the premade versions. So let's go the shortcut route, shall we?
Roll out the puff pastry just a tad and lay it into the prepared baking dish. Trim the excess dough and poke the bottom with a fork. This will help the crust from puffing up too much. Bake the puff pastry in the oven until golden brown, about 12 minutes. I like to check on the crust halfway through and make sure it's not puffing up. If it is, use a fork to deflate the bubbles.
Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool. Meanwhile, prepare the olive filling.
This filling is like an olive tapenade but with feta, yogurt, and egg to make it creamy. Simply process the ingredients together in a food processor until well combined.
Spread the olive filling on the cooled crust in an even layer.
Next, it's time to arrange the zucchini. We're not dressing up the zucchini because we want the ingredient to shine all on its own. The only preparation we have to do for the squash is to salt it beforehand. Salting the zucchini will draw out excess water. If you skip this step, you will end up with a soggy zucchini tart.
Pat dry the zucchini and arrange them in the tart upright, slightly overlapping the slices. This step will take some time but the more time you spend on it, the more beautiful it will become.
If you have any extra zucchini, you can use them to make zucchini chips!
Season the tart with salt, pepper, and olive oil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. The goal is to cook the zucchini just until it's tender, not mushy. It should still have a bite to it.
Let the zucchini tart cool slightly before serving. We enjoyed this dish at the restaurant cold but I also enjoyed my homemade version warm.
Place a dollop of creme fraiche on top and drizzle truffle oil to finish. Although the truffle oil is optional, I will say, it adds a lot to the overall flavor of the tart.
I was a bit worried that this zucchini tart wouldn't taste as good as it looks. Luckily, it did. The flavors are delicate but present from the sweet zucchini to the cool creme fraiche to the salty olive filling and crispy crust. And the truffle oil to finish? Perfection.
For more savory pie inspiration check out this french onion galette!