Last fall, my friend Mason and I split a CSA basket. While it was wonderful to be surprised with a bounty of fresh vegetables every other week, getting through them proved a challenge for the two of us. I started making this dish to deal with the surplus of kale, chard, and beet greens. Don't get me wrong--I love greens--but two people can only put away so many of them.
I adapted this recipe from Joyce Goldstein's "Tortino di Spinaci" from Sephardic Flavors. My family is Sephardic (Jews from Spain, N. Africa and the Middle East) and in the past couple years, I've started reading about and cooking traditional dishes. This dish seems to be a variation on a theme of various vegetables baked with varying amounts of eggs. I really love this concept--it's so versatile! You take what vegetables you have and bind them together with a little egg for a side dish or a lot of egg for a heartier meal.
I was re-inspired to cook this again after seeing Mark Bittman's piece in the New York Time's last week. Like the recipe he gives, this "tortoni" has only enough egg to bind it. Of course you can add more.
Anyways, the first time I made this, Mason and I devoured the whole thing like candy while it was cooling on the stovetop---first picking the leaves that had crisped on on top with our fingers, down through the custardy center spiked with raisins and nuts, to the cornmeal crust. The savory anchovy and caper marries with the sweetness of the fruit and onion, neither demanding center stage.
- 1.5 lbs Spinach, beet greens, kale, chard, collard, any mix of these, tough stems removed and chopped. (Trader Joe's bagged "southern greens" makes this EASY!)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1-2 anchovy fillets, minced
- 1T capers, rinsed and chopped
- 2-2 T chopped flat leaf parsely
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/4 C chopped walnuts
- 1/4 C raisins or currants, plumped in hot water and drained
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- salt, pepper, chili flakes
- 1-2 eggs, lightly beaten
- Cornmeal for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil an 8 x 11x2" baking dish or 2 qt casserole and dust it with cornmeal, which added a nice flavor. Rinse greens well and remove stems. Place greens in large saute pan with only the rinsing water clinging to the leaves and cook over med. heat, turning as needed, until wilted, just a few minutes. Empty the contents of the pan into a colander and drain well. Add the oil to the now-empty pan along with the onion and cook until browned. Add the anchovies, parsley, capers, & garlic. Place over med. heat and saute 2 min. Return the drained greens to the pan, mix well, and fold in nuts and raisins, and vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes (if desired). Remove from heat. Fold the eggs into the greens mixture and turn it into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle some more cornmeal on top and bake until lightly golden, ~ 30 min. serve hot.