Sunday, June 24, 2007

Apron Green Pie

Here is a recipe and directions from Cherry Grove member Dante Mazzocco.

The Apron part we need to credit Paula Wolfert, the pie part is all mine!

Loosely translated: With a crust it can be called a pie or a tart. Without, then call it a torte!

The crust is entirely up to you. Favorite homemade recipe (not sweet), store bought, puff pastry and alike. Mine is a simple trattoria style (Patricia Wells) prepared with olive oil, however, if you prefer, butter is also fine. Or for those who are inclined to less work in the kitchen, simply go sans crust!

Now what to do with all those greens we get from the farm;

Aside from a quick saute’, a long slow braise, part of a soup, a salad, a pasta sauce, a frittata, I also like to make the apron green pie. Each pie is different depending upon the greens that are available each week, the cheeses used, and what other aromatic vegetables are included in the mix.

Keep in mind you are not restricted to simply spinach, kale, collard, chard and other leafy greens you might get at the farm. If found in fresh non-wilted or dry condition, beet tops, carrot tops, and turnip tops are also welcome additions.

Whatever the mix of green vegetables, the process is essentially the same, and DO ALL THE PREP FIRST!!

For those greens with hard fibrous/woody stems or ribs, remove them first (makes great compost if you are so inclined).

Cut up all the greens being used in a rough chop and set aside.

Next select the aromatic vegetables for the saute’. I like onion, garlic, leek (need to clean these well), scallion, and also garlic scapes which are briefly available at the farm and a real treat! You can use any and or all of these in combination, your call!
Trim and thinly slice these vegetables and set aside.

Cheese; singularly or in combination, again your call, and to your taste and salt tolerance! It is fun to experiment with flavor combinations.
Romano, Asiago, Provolone, Jarlsberg, Gruyere, fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Parmigiana, a fresh Chevre or an aged Chevre (grated) are some suggestions.

5 to 6 large eggs depending upon volume
3/4 cup cream of half & half

Any fresh herbs (totally your call) rough chopped, however, include flat leaf parsley as part of the mix.

Fresh ground black pepper with minimal salting due to the use of cheese.

(Butter at room temp for liberally coating the pie dish if not using a crust.)

Boil a large pot of water and quickly blanch the rough chopped greens. Drain off in a colander and cool enough to handle to squeeze out most all of the liquid. Set aside.

Saute’ the aromatic vegetable mix in a large saute’ pan using olive oil. Add fresh herb mix at this time. Lightly salt and pepper, cooking down until wilted but not browned. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, big enough to hold all the ingredients, beat the eggs with the cream or half & half until combined; add all the prepared vegetables and combine well; add the cheese and combine again.

Pour this mixture into 2 oven proof pie plates, either into the prepared crust or into a well buttered dish. Sprinkle ground pepper over top and bake in a 350 degree oven (which you should have pre-heated) for the better part of an hour or until set with the edges of the crust lightly browned.

Remove from the over and let cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve, either lightly warmed or at room temperature (not cold)!

If you are creative, you might consider decorating the top with some cherry tomatoes sliced in half and arranged in a pattern; or perhaps the tips of blanched asparagus, garlic scapes, or even some scattered chive blossoms if they are still available.

I’m hopeful this provides you with ‘what to do with all the greens we get at the farm’!!