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Recipes for cheese and tomato tart, roasted peach crumble from 'Chuck's Day Off'

07/10/2013 09:14 EDT | Updated 09/09/2013 05:12 EDT
On his days off, Montreal chef Chuck Hughes likes to cook delicious comfort food for his friends, restaurant staff and family. That habit has morphed into a successful Food Network Canada show, "Chuck's Day Off," and now a new cookbook of the same name.

Here are a couple of Hughes' well-loved dishes from the book that feature fresh summer ingredients.

Cheese and Tomato Tart

This is a favourite recipe of Hughes. "That's one of my aunt's classics. We eat that a lot at my house," he says.

It's best with fresh tomatoes and herbs in summer. You can prepare it ahead and serve it cold or heat it up just before you eat.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

8 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed

50 ml (1/4 cup) butter, melted

30 ml (2 tbsp) Dijon mustard

500 ml (2 cups) shredded Emmental cheese

8 large ripe tomatoes, sliced 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick

Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme leaves

12 fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Heat oven to 200 C (400 F).

Lay 1 phyllo sheet in a large baking sheet, leaving a slight overhang at the edges. (Keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.) Brush phyllo with some melted butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter, stacking sheets on top of each other and overlapping so baking sheet is well covered and leaving a little bit of an edge.

Brush phyllo with mustard. Sprinkle cheese evenly over pastry. Arrange tomato slices over cheese, overlapping slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme. Bake until pastry is crisp and browned at the edges, about 25 minutes.

Add another sprinkling of coarse salt. Cut tart into 8 squares. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

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Roasted Peach Crumble

Fresh local peaches will soon be coming on the market in many parts of Canada.

This dish is amazing when peaches are in season, Hughes writes. "The crumble on its own is a great snack and can be eaten on yogurt or ice cream or, like I do, by the handful."

You can use other seasonal fruits such as apricots, plums, nectarines, apples or pears.

Balconville vinegar is an apple vincotto that is made with late-harvest Empire apples by Quebec's Societe-Original. Syrupy and sweetly acidic, it is comparable to the finest balsamic vinegars of Italy, Hughes writes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Crumble

250 ml (1 cup) old-fashioned rolled oats

125 ml (1/2 cup) sliced almonds, toasted

125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter, melted

5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

5 ml (1 tsp) sea salt

Pan-Roasted Peaches

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

8 peaches, halved and pitted

50 ml (1/4 cup) maple syrup

For serving

Vanilla ice cream

Drizzle of Balconville vinegar or good-quality balsamic vinegar

Crumble: Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, brown sugar, flour, melted butter, cinnamon and salt. Rub with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

Pan-roasted peaches: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add peaches, cut side down. Cook until golden brown on bottom, about 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and continue cooking until peaches are caramelized.

To serve, divide roasted peaches among plates, cut side up. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Scatter crumble over top. Drizzle with a touch of vinegar.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: "Chuck's Day Off" by Chuck Hughes (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., 2013).

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