Savoury Courgette Tart

I don’t call this recipe a quiche because the method used for the Italian torta salata is slightly different. For these sort of homemade savoury tarts, Italians don’t add eggs to the short crust pastry, unlike the French. Also, a quiche will require the mixture of creme fraiche with the egg inside the filling, while in torta salata we use cheese (usually ricotta or chewy cheese like mozzarella or sweet provola) as the main ingredient that brings the flavours together. Admittedly, I had never made a torta salata before, and I was a bit disappointed with the results of this recipe, inspired by this one on Giallo Zafferano. I felt that the pastry should have been blind baked before adding the ingredients, as the bottom of my tart stayed very white, even if the top crust was well cooked. It was crispy and had a nice texture, but I decided not to use pancetta, so that my vegetarian friends could also eat it. This made the flavours a little bland, because I didn’t think to use a stronger flavoured cheese to make up for it.
Overall, I suggest you blind bake, and if like me you want this recipe to be vegetarian, choose a type of cheese that will bring out the flavours rather than making them shy away.

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Fish al Cartoccio

Chinese New Year is approaching and you can definitely feel a seafood fever in the air when you go to the local wet markets in Singapore. Far from boasting any authority on the matter – I’ll leave this to the Chinese household of Blender&Basil – I’ll limit myself to show you how I cook fish, which is a rather common method used in Italy. The method is called al cartoccio, and it consists of cooking a whole fish (a sea bass, a sea bream, or like in this case, a mackerel) with its own steam inside a parcel made of aluminium foil. Continue reading “Fish al Cartoccio”