…or rather, raised beds of greens. We’ve been growing kale, chard, collard greens, mustard greens, lettuce, tatsoi, beets and their greens, turnips and their greens, and spinach in the garden beds, supplying us with greens throughout the winter.
I ordered seeds of several kinds of Asian greens and radishes from an Asian specialty seed propagator that I planted at the end of January, and they are just starting to look like real plants. Not ready to eat yet, but soon. I am going to try my hand at pickling the radishes, probably some sort of spicy concoction a la kimchee (that will be a future post).
Fresh braising greens picked from the garden are amazingly sweet and tender raw as well as cooked. We’ve mostly been eating them lightly sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and maybe a little crushed red pepper. One of my default meals this winter has been polenta topped with marinara from the freezer made during last summer’s tomato season and sautéed greens. Last night I made lasagna with the same marinara, ricotta and mixed greens.
But probably my favorite meal from greens so far this winter has been a savory pie made with greens, onions, and feta. In this shoulder season when you might be sick of winter vegetables but the spring veggies are just barely in the markets or not quite popping up in your garden, this is a great recipe to make. Plus it makes enough for 6 generous servings so you have it for a few more meals — we had pie for dinner the first night with roasted cauliflower, then again for lunch the next two days. I could just feel the vitamins infusing my veins (or so I like to think).
Greens and Sweet Onion Pie
(adapted from Mediterranean Harvest, by Martha Rose Shulman)
For the pie crust:
- 1¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup
For the filling:
- 2 lbs. greens, such as beet greens, chard, or spinach, trimmed (I used all of these plus kale)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 8 ounces feta, crumbed
- Freshly ground pepper
Make the crust:
Fit a food processor with a steel blade and mix together the flour and salt. With the machine running, add the olive oil, then the lemon juice and water. The dough should come together in a ball. Do not overwork.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly shape the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in two pieces, one about 1/3 of the total, the other 2/3. Press each half into a circle about 4 inches in diameter. Dust with flour if the dough is sticky. Wrap tightly in plastic and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Make the filling:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the greens. Blanch for 2 minutes until just tender. Using a slotted spoon or deep fry skimmer, transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, then strain. Squeeze out the excess water (I use a ricer to make this easy) and chop. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 10-inch pie pan. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds or so until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the greens and the herbs and stir for a minute, until the greens are coated with oil. Remove from the heat.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the beaten eggs for brushing the crust. Crumble the festa into the remaining eggs in a large bowl. Add the greens mixture, toss and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the pie:
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and use to line the pie dish. Scrape in the filling. Roll out the remaining pastry and place over the filling. Crimp the bottom and top edges together, then pinch a fluted edge all the way around the rim of the pie. Brush the top with the reserved beaten eggs and make a few slashes in the top crust so that steam can escape as the pie bakes.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Unfortunately I neglected to take a photo of the pie when I made it, but picture about a 3- inch deep layer of luscious, tender greens laced with feta and encased by a tender crust.