Breakfast and I have had a very fickle relationship over the years. When I was in grade school, I would eat it every morning because my mom would make it for me. It varied between french toast sticks (which I hated), graham crackers and milk (which I hated) and toaster strudels with pictures drawn in icing (which I loved, loved, loved). Around the time of high school I dropped the breakfast routine because of why-on earth-would-I-want-to-wake-up-any-earlier-than-absolutely-necessary-for-school reasons. Breakfast quickly became a cup of coffee gripped between my frostbitten fingers as I drove to school, frozen to the core due to the foot and a half of snow I had just scraped off my car (Oh, Wisconsin). Although, I did go through a brief Pop-Tart phase in high school around the time I discovered that they make every flavor I could possibly want. But chocolate chip cookie dough and hot fudge sundae Pop-Tarts aside, I usually put breakfast on the back burner. College was not much different. Usually a coffee and whatever pastry or fruit I could afford on my rapidly declining meal plan balance. And yet, all of this shunning breakfast in favor of sleep and I don't like french toast stick drama aside, breakfast still holds a place in my heart.
But what holds that place isn't the rushed school mornings, scraping my windshield and guzzling coffee. It's all of the special breakfasts that were mixed in. Stopping at the McDonalds drive through before a long family road trip for breakfast burritos and hash browns when I was so excited to get to Manitowish Waters, WI that I could barely eat, breakfast for dinner eaten indoor-picnic-style with my mom and sister on our living room floor, the giant apple pancakes and best ever coffee at The Pancake House, where my mom and I would always start out a special-just-the-two-of-us day, waking up to the smell of bacon on Christmas morning and eating a giant, wonderful brunch after tearing into our presents. These weren't hectic mornings, these were days that started with something out of the ordinary, something I could take the time to enjoy.
This tart falls into the special breakfast range. No, I could not make this in the morning while also brushing my teeth and eat it with one hand on the steering wheel and the other turning on the defrosters, and that's what I love about it. It demands an out of the ordinary morning, the kind that sticks out among all of the Pop-Tarts.
The tart itself is very similar to a quiche, but instead of the pastry crust typical of quiche, I made a parmesan cornmeal crust, which forms a crispy, polenta-like layer on the bottom. I'm probably the only one, but the idea of a pie dough with eggs was always lost on me. Fill my pie dough with pumpkin or fruit and leave my eggs alone, please. But this crust is thin, and savory and full of black pepper, so you know I loved it. It is filled with slow roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese but you can use whatever veggies and cheese you have on hand. Caramelized onions would be amazing, just saying. However you choose to prepare it, just take a moment to be thankful that not all mornings are created equal. Some just suck, because it's morning, but some are very very special.
Breakfast Tart with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese
Crust adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
Makes one 9" tart
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup polenta or corn grits
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 5 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
- 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (or more if you like things cheesy. I know I do.)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
| Instructions |
- Preheat oven to 350. Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tbsp. olive oil (you can also add salt and pepper, if you like). Arrange tomatoes, cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, until tomatoes begin to release their juices and are slightly charred on the outside. Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375. Grease a 9" tart pan, set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth and salt to a boil. Stir in polenta. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 10 minutes. Give it a good stir every minute or two to keep it from sticking to the pan. Turn off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Stir in cheese, egg and pepper (I used much more than 2 tsp. but I have a problem. Feel free to use more though if you're feeling peppery.) Allow it to rest for 10 more minutes.
- Transfer polenta to prepared tart pan and press, with wet fingers, into an even layer along the bottom and up the sides. The crust does not rise, so what you see before baking is what you get. I like a thin crust and ended up using just a little more than half of the polenta. If you like a thicker crust, feel free to use it all. Bake 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften and release moisture, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to the crust and spread in an even layer. Scatter spinach over mushrooms in an even layer. Add goat cheese crumbles, dispersing equally across vegetables.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk until combined. Whisk in salt, pepper and onion powder. Pour egg mixture into tart pan, over the vegetables. Arrange the roasted tomatoes, cut side down, across the tart. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until the center is just set.