Typically, the garden year for me ends with the chili - picking festival as I strip even the most minuscule nub of a pepper off the plants just before fall. Don't get excited... there are no invites - and the peppers just barely fill a mason jar.
It's a little ritual. The plants are uprooted and dug under, the garden is tidied up, the bales are raked apart so the harsh winter can continue to break down the straw mulch to build the growing humus under-layer in the beds.
Except this year.
this fall I decided to try a late season experiment with broccoli. The cooler weather is ideal for growing brassicas (cabbage family vegetables), and should keep down the bugs that usually torment my leafy things.
I didn't get very stellar heads. While the plants did produce copious amounts of greenery, I only harvested 8 golf ball sized florets. I'll get around to doing something with them over the holiday, but that still left me with all those greens.
Some time ago I caught an episode of French Food at Home where Laura Caulder made a Savory Swiss Chard Tart (you can clicky the title to get the original recipe) that I wanted to try.
Here's the thing...
Chard is an "okay" veg.
Other than being colorful and leafy, it really doesn't have a lot going for it. It's bland. Cooked, it has the same lackluster appeal as that flat, muted green stuff everyone is passing off as spinach.
I tend to go for stronger greens. I love greens with oomph like turnip and mustard greens. Collards and kale really get my motor running, so the deep, vibrant, musky broccoli greens couldn't help but be outstanding.
Of course, I've made a few adjustments to the recipe... some to handle the more intense leafage - some to appease my own personal taste preferences - and some to satisfy the ever constant lactose issue in our household. We'll get to each of those as we go along. I've also given Gluten free and Lactose free alternatives along the way
Strong Greens Tart
Makes 1 9" Tart
1 - 9" Pie Crust (If you are going Gluten Free - use your favorite recipe. Likewise with Lactose Free. I've actually used a shortening based readi made crust.)
3 Cups of Broccoli Leaves - Julienne / plus the Ribs (Note: any strong greens will work for this tart. Bear in mind, tougher leafage like collards and kale will nedd additional time to soften them up properly before assembling the tart.)
1/2 Cup Lactose Free (or Soy) Milk
3 Strips Bacon
1/2 Spanish Onion - Finely Chopped
1 Clove Garlic - Minced
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts (per the original recipe... but I think walnuts would work equally as well)
1/4 Cup Golden Raisins
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup of Grated Extra Sharp Cheddar (If you are going dairy free - there are several non dairy shreds available - use your particular favorite. Note: non-dairy cheeses lack fat - and it is going to be necessary for this recipe. You will need to up the oil by a couple of teaspoons)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Large Mixing Bowl
9" Spring Form Pan
Preheat your oven to 375
Roll and fit the pie crust into the spring form pan and pre bake for 10 minutes
|Separate the leaves from the ribs|
|Julienne the leaves and chop the ribs in pea sized pieces|
|Mince the onion and garlic.|
Add the oil to the skillet and saute both until translucent; transfer to the mixing bowl
Chop the bacon into 1/4" Strips and saute in the same pan until brown and crisp
Transfer to the Bowl
|Add the chopped ribs and saute until they are lightly browned on the edges|
Add the julienne leaves, nutmeg, and the baking soda
Taste and adjust for salt and pepper
Saute for another 5 to 7 minutes
|While the greens are sauteing, beat together the sour cream, milk and eggs|
Adjust for salt and pepper and pour into the mixing bowl
Add the greens, raisins, pine nuts and grated cheese
|Pour into the prebaked crust and bake at 375 for 30 minutes|
Cool on a rack for 5 minutes then remove the spring form
|Cool to room temperature and serve with a 60's throwback -|
Poached pears with mayonnaise