We discussed the merits of having one’s own brood of chooks here on Wednesday. Today’s recipe is all about highlighting the most obvious reward. Beautiful, orange yolked free-range eggs and readily available (unless your chook is moody) at that. I couldn’t not prepare some sort of tart/quiche with tip-top eggs sitting in the little wicker basket just waiting to be used. In all honesty this Tomato and Feta Tart with Brown Rice Crust isn’t the optimum egg user within the quiche department. It uses a mere four. However, you’ll find four is plenty enough to get your eggy fix. Quality over quantity right?
A light thyme inflected custard wraps itself around heady, sweet, roasted Roma tomatoes, laced with crumbles of salty feta. Roasted garlic cloves add a rich, caramel undertone (roasting removes the vampire breath liability, promise!) that contrasts delightfully with the nutty, smoky brown rice crust. Crisp at the top, with no chance of a soggy bottom, the crust will satiate your gluten free minions to no end. It’s a dinkum way to use up left-over brown rice and even if you do need to prepare from scratch it’ll take no longer than homemade pastry, such as that found here. Even with the smoked cheese it’s still a touch healthier, and not to mention lower in GI, than standard pastry. Are we onto a winner? I do be thinking so.
Serve at room temperature with a crisp green salad for balmy summer nights, or heat it up a notch and add a side of roasted veg (with extra roasted garlic cloves of course!) for those with a chill in the air. If you don’t finish it off, the left-overs pack up a treat for lunch the following day, with the crust providing a sturdier shell than pastry.
Good quality ingredients will transform this tart from decent to decadent. Grab your tomatoes from the local markets if you can (you’ll find the very best in Summer, when they’re in peak season) and your cheese too if possible. Not only is it likely to be superior in flavour, you’ll be reducing food miles too. We’ve already discussed the eggs. If you don’t have your own chickens, find a friend/neighbour who does, or if push comes to shove purchase free range from the supermarket. A healthier, happier chicken will equal a tastier tart for you.
Tomato and Feta Tart with Brown Rice Crust
150g (3/4 cup) brown rice
60g (1/2 cup) smoked cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
5 roma tomatoes, stalk removed and halved lengthways
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
8 sprigs thyme
45g (1/3 cup) feta or goats cheese, crumbled
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 190C. Place rice in a small pot and cover with 3-4 cups cold water. Bring to boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the water is absorbed and the grains are tender and quite soft. You don’t want it overcooked, but more than al dente. Cooking times will vary significantly with each type of grain so check the packet. Once cooked, drain, rinse with cold water and leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray, along with the garlic. Brush or spray the tomatoes with olive oil and grind some black pepper over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until just bubbling, remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.
Lightly grease a 22cm (10 inch) tart tin/shallow quiche dish. Tip the cooled rice into a bowl and mix together with the cheese and beaten egg. Tip the rice mixture into the middle of the dish and use your hands to gently push the mix out from the centre. Keep on pushing and directing the mixture up the sides of the dish until they reach the rim of the dish. Try to keep the thickness as even as possible. Take particular care in the ‘corners’ of the dish, as there tends to be a large build up of rice. You don’t want a big wedge of rice!
Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven temperature to 170C. Meanwhile whisk together the eggs and milk in a small bowl or jug. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Arrange the tomato halves, cut side up, garlic cloves and thyme sprigs on the rice crust. Sprinkle with the crumbled feta. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the top.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until filling has set. Place the quiche on a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Suitable to serve hot, room temperature or cold.
Will keep for up to 3 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.