We pulled up the squash plants this week, so had many, of varying sizes to cook with. I was stunned when Justin came through the door, his long arms completely full of zucchini. We eat a lot of it, in pastas, ratatouille, fritters, and even the rare zoodle, but this was a lot. As the days shorten (thus the end of the squash) our greens are ramping up, so I also happen to have a fridge full of kale, collards, turnip greens, mustards, and about 20 bunches of long beans (we’ll have to do a future post on those).
If you want my tall man to eat something, the trick is to put as many greens in as possible. So the recipe I came up with did just that. It is a variation on a Provençal tart by Martha Rose Shulman. Because I wanted to use as much veg as possible, I substituted the dough crust with one of sweet potatoes, and used collards instead of swiss chard. I also never follow a recipe completely, so always make little tweaks along the way. I invite you to do the same with this one – change it to fit your needs and desires. It is a flexible bake that can accomodate many different fillings. Instead of collards, you could use the more traditional swiss chard, or kale, or turnip greens, or mustards. You could use summer squash instead of zucchini, or put some apples in for sweetness. Really and open land of delicousness here.
2- 21/2 Sweet Potatoes
1 very large or 2 medium bundles of Collards
1 Onion, I use yellow, but again- your choice
2 lbs Zucchini, diced with skins on
1/2 C grated or diced cheese. I used a friend’s cheddar, but you can use pretty much anything except mozzarella – too gooey.
3 eggs- again, ours come from chickens who don’t take size orders, so varying sizes are ok.
rosemary to taste, chopped
parsley to taste, chopped – I use quite a bit, between 1/8 to 1/4 cup
3 Garlic cloves
Start by preheating the oven to 375 and finding a pie, tart, or casserole tin. Put a little EVOO in there. Next slice the Sweet Potatoes into thin rounds. If you have a mandolin, you can use it for this. I don’t, so I just used a regular old knife, and was perfectly happy. I didn’t want them too thin, since they were going to hold up the filling. The ones we have had to work through tough clay soil to grow, so were a little small. If you’ve got bigger ones, you might only need 2, and you might need to cut some of the rounds in half. Once you have what you feel is enough, dump them into your tin. Mix them with the EVOO you put in there, then cover the sides of the tin with any remaining oil. Begin to cover the bottom with rounds, until you have about three layers. Then do the sides. There might be a lot of re-arranging and patching going on, which is totally fine. You can see the process in the picture above. You want the sides to come up about 1/2 to 1 inch above the top of your tin surface.
Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then place in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. You want the sweet potatoes to get comfy with each other, and mellow out a little on the bottom, making them an easier receptacle for the filling.
Before you start the filling – bring a pot to boil with a little water, perhaps 2 inches. Stem and cut your collards, then place them in the boiling water. You have the option here to add a little apple cider vinegar – it helps decrease slime and add a little acid to this dish. Once they’ve cooked for a minute or two, drain them and let them sit in a colander while you prep the rest of the filling
To start the filling, chop your onion and add to some butter in a pan or cast iron skillet (I’m writing this in Texas, so skillets ahoy). Next dice and add your Zucchini. Once that has had a few minutes to settle, add the garlic, rosemary (you can also use essential oil if fresh herbs are not available to you), S & P. Chop the collards a little extra, then add them and the parsley to this mixture.
In a bowl, beat the three eggs, adding a little S & P. Then add your cheese, followed by the veggie mixture. Combine well, then pour into the sweet potato-lined tin.
Bake for about 50 minutes. you want the eggs & cheese to be set, and the top a little golden, without being dry. If you take it out and are not sure, just like a pie, run a knife or toothpick through it, and if it comes out clean, it is done. Let it sit (this is very important!!!) for 15 minutes. Then have at! Like most pies, the flavor will only get better over time, so if you need to refrigerate it, no problem.
It is a light pie, with flavors of the zucchini and herb marrying softly with the egg and the cheese is hardly noticeable ( not super into the cheesy pies, this one). It makes a nice center dish for a vegetarian dinner, or a delicious brunch option. In our house it has been dinner, lunch, and 5am pre farm work breakfast. Hope you like it!