Some good things can be easily made, very easily. Take labneh, often referred to as Lebanese cream cheese. Just take yogurt, put it in a cheese cloth, tie up the cloth and suspend over a bowl. When the liquid has stopped draining, you have labneh. It’s a kitchen staple, not just in Lebanon, but across the middle east.
Here, it serves as the foundation for a vegetarian tart that can be a side dish or a full-fledged meal. If you have your labneh ready, and some puff pastry at hand, you can have this dish is a half an hour. Enjoy it hot out of the oven, or you can cool it down and sample the rest next day. It’s an interesting hot or cold appetizer for a cocktail party.
Thyme is a traditional herb to employ here. It you are not a thyme fan or just want to experiment, then do by all means. Just remember that herbs are pungent. Go with a modest amount on your first venture down any new path.
Zucchini, Labneh and Thyme Tart
Yield: serves 10 to 12
- One 13-ounce pack of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1/4 cup labneh
- 1 tablespoon milk or 1 egg, beaten
- 2 large or 6 baby zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced at an angle, approximately two inches thick
- 3 tablespoons Parmesan, finely grated
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Unroll the puff pastry onto a large baking sheet. Take a sharp knife am a border around the edge of the pastry, running roughly 1 inch parallel to all sides.
Spread the labneh over the middle of the pastry, taking it up to, but not over, the pastry border. Brush the border with a little milk or beaten egg. Season the labneh all over with salt and pepper.
Now, arrange the zucchini slices over the labneh, ensuring the labneh is covered. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the surface and scatter over some thyme leaves.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, by which time the border should have puffed up nicely and the topping will be golden brown. Serve immediately while hot, or it is good cold the following day.
Source: Fermented by Charlotte Pike [Kyle, 2015]