This poor things isn’t going to be winning any beauty pageants [psst, until it got fresh photos in 2023!], and especially not in the rushed, omg-it’s-10p.m., why-aren’t-you-ready-yet way I cooked it, but this torte should not be underestimated. It’s some delicious stuff.
Though this is far from the most pitiful offender on the cooking backlog list, I still won’t admit how many weeks ago I made this. However, I do remember that I had a hankering for potatoes that week, and not just any potatoes, but yukon golds. As Alex always says, my cravings come with very specific instructions.
But summer doesn’t seem the right time our typical preparation–chunked and roasted until brown with salt, pepper and olive oil–and this torte, cut with yellow summer squash is lighter and perfect, especially served right from the oven with a green or tomato salad.
If you’re like me, you’re probably going to look at the recipe and think, doesn’t that sound a little bland? And “sound” is the choice descriptor there, because this is anything but, and the secret is that it’s perfectly seasoned. There are few better homages to the value of the right level of seasoning–salt and pepper both–than the depth this recipe gets out of relatively simple ingredients.
Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (100 grams) grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds (905 grams) yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into very thin (1/8-inch) rounds
- 12 ounces (340 grams) any green or yellow zucchini or other summer squash, cut into very thin (1/8-inch) rounds
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) olive oil
Prepare your pan: Line a deep 10- to 11-inch ovenproof skillet or cast-iron pan or cake pan with a large round of parchment paper, pressing it across the bottom and pleating it up the sides. [Shown here in an 11-inch braiser with a skillet-like base.]
Prepare filling: Set aside 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Toss remaining green onions, all the parmesan, flour, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and lots of freshly ground pepper (about 3/4 teaspoon) in a medium bowl to blend.
Assemble torte: Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of your prepared pan, overlapping them slightly. Layer 1/2 of squash in concentric circles atop the potatoes. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of oil and sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with 1/3 potatoes, 1/2 of squash, 2 teaspoons oil, and 1/3 cheese mixture. Top with the last 1/3 of potatoes, drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons of oil, and sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Press gently to flatten.
Bake torte: Cover pan tightly with foil (or with a lid, if your pan has one) and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until potatoes are almost tender. Remove foil (or lid) and bake another 30 to 35 minutes, until the torte is browned on top and the potatoes are tender.
To serve: Let cool for 10 minutes in pan then use the sling of parchment paper to lift the torte out of the pan and onto a serving plate or cutting board. Sprinkle with reserved green onions. Cut into 8 wedges and eat right away.
Do ahead: The torte can be made in advance and kept chilled in the fridge until needed. To rewarm, cover again with foil or lid, and place in a 350-degree oven until heated through, about 30 minutes. P.S. I think this is even better reheated because there is something about potatoes that have been cooked twice–they get more browned at the edges and more tender inside, creating an excellent contrast.