Right before I had my daughter, I posted about the “casseroles from kindly neighbors” I expected to be eating after her birth. We did enjoy delicious pastas, chili and hearty comfort foods. Just when I thought the charity was over and I was back on my feet cooking again, we received a delicious surprise. A mid-morning tap on my door announced my neighbor, Tracy, and the delivery of a beautiful, refreshing, vegetarian meal.

Tracy is a bright-eyed, stylish gal and the only person I know who can pull off hats and headscarves and look like a million bucks in them. She also happens to be a fabulous cook. Her husband is a professional saxophone player, known as Skinny Williams. He practices in the lower level of our condo building and often his music wafts into our entrance way and mailbox area. What luck! His jazzy tunes must increase the value of the property.

This colorful tart was such a welcome treat for new, exhausted parents. Tracy delivered it along with a roasted beet, carrot and goat cheese salad, which she said would be good for my blood. If you have the energy and the need to impress or treat a neighbor, skip the lasagna or cake next time and try a French Picnic Tart!

French Picnic Tart with New Potatoes, Red Peppers, Sage, and Gruyere

1 10-inch unbaked tart crust (your favorite recipe or a frozen one from the store)
1 lb baby potatoes
1-2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion thinly sliced (2 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c grated Gruyere cheese (1/4 lb)
2 tbsp minced fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes in saucepan, cover with water, and boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in skillet, add onion and salt, and cook on low heat until onion is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Spread one cup of cheese into bottom of unbaked crust. Spoon onion over the cheese, and sprinkle with sage.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel (if desired) then slice thin. Arrange slices in overlapping concentric circles over cheese. Arrange bell pepper slices over potatoes in ring. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and black pepper to taste.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden around edges. Remove tart from oven, and let tart cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve sliced into large wedges either hot, warm, or at room temperature depending on your taste and the temperature outside!


From Mollie Katzen’s Vegetable Heaven.