Roasted Broccoli-Red Bell Pepper Tart

photo by Steve Legato reprinted with permission from COWGIRL CHEF
by Ellise Pierce, Running Press, 2012

By Ellise Pierce,

Denton-native Ellise Pierce blends Texas spice with French traditions in her new cookbook Cowgirl Chef—Texas Cooking With a French Accent (Running Press), available May 2012. This excerpted recipe features spring harvested broccoli and green onions. For best results, use local farm eggs and dairy and cornmeal from Waco’s Homestead Gristmill.

Makes one 11” Tart

For Crust

1¾ cups flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
1 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup ice water

For Filling:

1 medium head of broccoli, cut into florets
½ red bell pepper, cut into ½–inch pieces
3 green onions, sliced (white part only)
Olive oil
6 egg whites
¾ cup of reduced fat milk, such as 2%
Sea salt and pepper
2 cups grated local Cheddar, Monterey Jack or Gouda

Prepare crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F. Line the bottom of 11” tart pan with a round of parchment paper—very important, so your tart crust doesn’t stick.
  2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal and sea salt. Add the oil and honey and mix it up. Pour in the water bit by bit, adding just enough for the dough to come together.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently lay it into your tart pan. Snip the crust edges with your kitchen scissors, leaving a dough hangover of about ½ inch. Refrigerate for an hour or simply pop in the freezer until firm, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Blind bake your crust. Line the chilled crust with parchment and fill it up with pie weights or dry beans, making sure to push them tightly into the edges, where shrinkage can occur. Put the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, and bake for 10 more minutes, so the bottom cooks through. Let the tart shell cool completely before you fill it.

Prepare filling:

  1. Preheat your broiler and line 2 big cookie sheets and 1 smaller one with foil. Toss the broccoli florets on one, the red bell pepper pieces on another and the green onions on the small one. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over each batch of veggies, salt and pepper them, and give them a good toss with your hands.
  2. Now that all of your veggies are prepped, go ahead and slide your broccoli into the oven, and roast for about 15 minutes or until the florets are light brown. Do the same with the red bell peppers and then the green onions. (These cook at slightly different times, which is why they’re on separate cookie sheets.) Once the veggies are roasted, leave them on their pans to cool and reduce your oven temperature to 375°F.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix up the egg whites, milk and salt and pepper.

Assemble tart:

  1. First, lay as many broccoli florets as you can into the tart shell. Then add the cheese and all or as much of the red bell pepper as you’d like and top with the onions.
  2. Gently pour the eggy-milky mixture over the veggies. You’ll probably need to use your fingers to squish the cheese down a bit between the broccoli florets.
  3. Put the tart on a foil-lined cookie sheet and slide into the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the tart is set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
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Ellise Pierce is the Cowgirl Chef and author of COWGIRL CHEF:
Texas Cooking with a French Accent (Running Press). Read her blog
(, follow her on Twitter (@cowgirlchef) and Instagram