If you find yourself craving something satisfying yet deceptively fancy as you return from the beach, try tapping into some fresh Outer Banks produce for this Vegetable Tart with Chermoula Sauce.
Chef Angel Doebler’s recipe takes full advantage of seasonal herbs and hearty vegetables, plus some store-bought puff pastry so you can spend more time soaking up the ocean air and less time toiling in the kitchen. Keep your eye on that racy chermoula sauce, though; it will make you fall in love with lemon, garlic, mint and cilantro like never before.
The simplicity of this dish doesn’t prepare you for the complexity of flavor it delivers. The fresh, garlicky bite of the chermoula highlights the sweetness of the pastry and the vegetables in the best way — not to mention, the visual appeal. Thinly sliced potatoes shingled inside a flaky, golden crust surrounding salty feta and an earthy mix of caramelized onions and greens just oozes luxury and comfort all at once. But luxurious comfort is the name of Doebler’s game.
As personal chef and owner/operator of Taste.Drink.Pair, Doebler’s approach to ingredients is pure and grounded, true to her Midwestern roots. But her recipes are also colored by an element that can’t be traced back to one single region or methodology. It’s something she describes as intuitive cooking and she does it exceptionally well. Cooking based on intuition, rather than established patterns, yields results that are as nourishing as they are interesting, no matter the diner’s dietary preference.
Doebler always has a punchy little trick up her sleeve that transforms humble ingredients into something to be savored. Sometimes it’s a bright, zesty dressing to spoon over tender sautéed pork tenderloin and seasoned potatoes, or a pop of fresh cherries in buttermilk cream cheese muffins laced with streusel. Any way she serves it, Doebler’s food lands squarely in your comfort zone with just enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more.
Doebler, former pastry chef at the famed Outer Banks martini bar and bistro Ocean Boulevard, has a calm and patient demeanor but there’s also a streak of wicked curiosity and humor simmering underneath. She’s self-possessed, which may be why her food and her recipes are rock-solid, guaranteed delights.
To get a taste of Doebler’s expertise, gather the ingredients for this tart, pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine (Doebler suggests a riesling), and settle in for the cozy summer night of elegance.
Vegetable Tart with Chermoula Sauce
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, sliced
4 cups fresh greens such as kale, chard, or spinach, thinly sliced
4 small white potatoes, thinly sliced and tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chermoula sauce, plus more for serving (recipe to follow)
- Thaw puff pastry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, until caramelized and beginning to brown.
- Add the greens to the pan with the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until wilted. Stir in 2 tablespoons of prepared chermoula sauce and remove from heat.
- Roll out the puff pastry and fit into a 9-inch tart or pie pan.
- Spread the green vegetable mixture onto the pastry, followed by a layer of feta cheese. Top with potato slices.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the crust starts to get a deep golden color. Remove from oven and serve with chermoula sauce on the side.
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystals kosher salt
¼ cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup fresh mint, minced
½ cup fresh cilantro, minced
Combine all ingredients in a bowl (or put all ingredients in a food processor and buzz). Let stand while preparing vegetables and tart.