Do you remember the first time you tasted kale? I do. It was just 3 years ago. I'd felt "adventurous" at the farmers market, but had no idea what to do with my new bag of strangely sturdy greens once I got home. Flipping through a favorite Italian cookbook, a rustic dish with soft onions and creamy white beans caught my eye...then wooed my taste buds. I've adored kale ever since.
That first dish has been made over and over again (and I promise to share the recipe later). But this nutritional powerhouse deserved to be more than a one-trick pony. For my latest kale-scapade, I settled on an intriguing ricotta, winter greens, and egg phyllo pie. Turned out a bit messy, as you can see 8), but full of lovely, well-balanced flavors. The bitterness of the kale mellowed by the slight sweetness of sauteed leeks and creamy cheeses and eggs. The only change I might make next time is to use puff pastry instead of phyllo to get this on the table faster.
So tell me, dear readers, do you enjoy winter greens? If so, what should I add to my currently limited repertoire?
P.S. - I've gotten behind on stopping by your blogs in the last week due to exams. Sorry 'bout that and I promise to catch up soon!
Savory Phyllo Pie with Winter Greens and Eggs [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Serves 6 to 8
XIAOLU'S NOTES: I think the extra flakes on top of my pie come from using old and thus drier phyllo pastry, so use a fresh batch for a neat presentation. I adjusted the recipe below to fully cook the eggs. Feel free to substitute swiss chard for half or all of the kale. But you'll need slightly less swiss chard, since it has smaller stems than kale.
6 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 lbs. kale, rough stems removed
2 cups fresh spinach
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 scallions, finely chopped
3 black olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped [I used 2 tsp dried]
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 sheets phyllo pastry
4 to 5 Tbsp butter, melted
Cook eggs in a pot of boiling water for 7 minutes. Then drain, cool in ice water, then peel and set aside.
Coarsely chop leaves of greens, steam for 6 to 8 minutes or until wilted, transfer to a colander to cool, then squeeze to remove excess water (It's important to squeeze hard!).
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add leek and garlic and cook for 5-6 minutes or until very soft. Transfer to a food processor, add greens, and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl, then add cheeses, scallions, olives, and oregano. Mix well and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place an 8-inch springform or other cake pan on a cookie sheet, brush the inside of the pan with butter, line with a piece of phyllo, allowing excess to overhang, brush with butter and top with phyllo. Repeat with remaining phyllo and butter, finishing with phyllo.
Spoon 2/3 of ricotta mixture into the phyllo-lined pan, smooth surface, then create 6 wells for the eggs around edges, using a spoon. Place eggs in wells, then spoon over remaining ricotta mixture, smoothing top. Fold overhanging pastry inward, brushing with butter between each layer and pleating as you go. Brush top with butter and bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature.