Maggie's Courgette Tart, with Tomato Salad

This courgette tart is a recipe from my lovely godmother Maggie, who is a fantastic cook. It’s truly scrumptious – buttery, garlicky courgettes, rich salty crème fraiche, and crisp pastry. As a kid I never used to like courgettes (among many, many other things), but now I can’t understand why because they’re so tasty – even with nothing added to them they have a wonderful buttery flavour, and the addition of olive oil and garlic makes them utterly divine.

The tomato salad is just something I knocked up to go with this when I was bored of lettuce – but you could mix it with rocket or lettuce if you wanted to add something green.

One block of puff pastry (normally it comes in a pack of two, so you can freeze the other one)
A biggish tub of crème fraiche
Salt and black pepper
Two fat courgettes
Olive oil
Four or five garlic cloves

For the salad:
A packet of salad tomatoes (for this purpose, it’s better when they’re crisp rather than ripe)
Two or three spring onions
Fresh basil
Red wine vinegar
A pinch of sugar

Start at least an hour before you want to serve, although the longer you leave it the better. Slice the courgette very thinly, then pop it into a bowl and pour in enough olive oil to coat the slices. Chop up the garlic cloves and mix them in with a bit of black pepper, then leave the courgettes to absorb the scrummy garlicky flavours.

When you’re ready to do the rest, roll out the puff pastry until it’s no more than 5mm thick, and about the right size to fit onto your baking tray or sheet. Score it around the outside to make a border of about 2cm (but make sure not to cut all the way through!). In a bowl, mix the crème fraiche with a generous grating of parmesan, and a bit of salt and pepper. Then spread it thickly on the puff pastry, leaving the border clear. Next, arrange the courgettes on top – I think they look pretty overlapping each other in long rows, but it really doesn’t matter! Finally, brush the pastry border with the garlicky oil, and drizzle any that’s left over on top of the courgettes.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, and cook the tart for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is risen and golden. The rest of the tart will probably puff up during cooking (the clue’s in the name, eh) but don’t worry, it will settle down as soon as you take it out of the oven. 

While it’s cooking, prepare the salad. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds (discard these, as they’ll make the salad all soggy), then chop them up roughly. Slice the spring onions finely, and then mix them with the tomatoes, plenty of fresh basil leaves and a slug of red wine vinegar. Taste it and season, and add a bit of sugar if needed.

Serve the tart straightaway while it’s hot, although it’ll also be great served cold, the day after cooking, if you don’t scoff it all in one go!