We have been buying produce at farmers’ markets ever since our neighbour Judy put us on to New Brighton’s. Excellent food, friendly stallholders and an endless stream of yummy treats for my son have brought us back every week. Where else do you find French surfer dudes selling tomatoes with a beaming smile, Sicilian rastafarians making the meanest cannoli this side of the Messina Strait and sourdough bread baked with a BIG heart? For this recipe, I have bought Kalamata olives and extra virgin olive oil from Denise, cheese from Doug and Deb, eggs from Glenys and herbs from Ian (Ian-The-Slasher, as my son started calling him after seeing him at work on his tractor). Our usual banana supplier had garlic as well today so we bought some from him while the silverbeet comes from Will’s farm.
This is a good dish if you are going to or are having a party: it looks and smells scrumptious and its crusty base makes it easy to pick up and eat while you are having a chat; the recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s 2007 Jamie at Home cookbook but I have tweaked a few things from the original (hopefully improving it in the process): I make a vegetarian version of the tart by substituting ham with olives, I use silverbeet instead of spinach because…Well because that is what my mum would do and notwithstanding how much I love Jamie, Nonna Iole takes precedence, when it comes to food. I also substitute some of the sour cream with Deb’s cottage cheese because I come from Modena – home of Parmigiano Reggiano – and I have learned early in life that excellent cheese can work magic on a dish.
For the base:
- 300gr flour
- 125gr butter
- 30gr grated cheddar cheese
- A few springs of rosemary and thyme (leaves picked)
- 3 eggs
- A tablespoon of milk
For the filling:
- 3 red onions
- 1 clove of garlic
- 350gr of silverbeet (or spinach or cavolo nero)
- A few springs of oregano
- 250gr sour cream
- 250gr cottage cheese
- 150gr grated parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- A handful of pitted Kalamata olives
- Olive oil, salt & pepper
Put the flour, butter, cheese and a pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. Add the rosemary and thyme leaves, the eggs and the milk and pulse for a few more seconds until the pastry comes together. Put the pastry onto a floured work surface and pat a few times (but do not knead it). Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and refrigerate for half an hour.
Take your pastry out of the fridge and roll it into a 30 * 40 cm rectangle roughly ½ cm thick. I do this with a floured rolling pin directly on a sheet of floured baking paper, which makes it much easier to then move the pastry to the baking tray.
Once the pastry is in the tray, prick it all over with a fork and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 190’C and blind bake the pastry for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
Put a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the chopped onions on a medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft. Turn up the heat and add the sliced garlic and the silverbeet (washed, stalked removed and roughly shredded). Add the oregano and salt and pepper and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until the silverbeet has wilted.
In a bowl or in your food processor, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, cottage and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Spread the silverbeet mixture over the pastry case and add some olives. Cover with the cheeses, cream and egg mixture and then add a few more springs of oregano and a bit more grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with some olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and well set.