From Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food, I made Torta di Erbe, translated as “Green Tart,” which somehow tickled my funny-bone. It’s a Roman tart, she says, and also known as “Pizza Ebraica” (Jewish pizza).
(Google either the Italian or the translation and lots of things come up, completely different from this tart. Such is the folklorica of food….)
Roden’s version is a pretty standard pastry with a filling that feels unusual for the addition of: frozen peas. It’s basically, sautee your onion in olive oil, add tinned artichoke hearts, defrosted peas, and spinach towards the end. I took care to use a slotted spoon at the end to get rid of extra fluid, transfering the mix into a bowl with two beaten eggs. Then, salt and pepper. I added a pinch of mace, and lots of chives because they were there. and place in your pastry (which I’d pre baked). Then bake in a hotter-than-medium-hot oven for 30 minutes or so. She says serve hot. I served it cold.
I had left-over pastry to hand which was an experiment made from a locally-milled whole-wheat, some polenta/ maize flour and some porridge oats kind of crumbled. (Soon soon soon expect a long piece on the subject of pastry. 🙂 ) The strong flavour stood up to the veg quite well.
Quiches and flans can be so eggy and cheesy which feel heavy in the summer heat. This recipe appealed because it really wasn’t that, it’s more an encased dose of vegetables cohering by way of egg.
The peas are lovely and fun and unexpected in a pie! The artichoke hearts give an edge of sour which is perfect. Spinach is… spinach. Of course you could use herbs lightly or strongly (oh would love to have enough parsley to use it really profligately), and chard, nettles, dandelions, nasturtium leaves, wild greens, beet greens or the tops of carrots or turnips, purslane, rocket, courgette, whatever! I’m always wishing my Good King Henry would grow.
I guess you could add cheese at the bottom, and you could make this eggier or more custardy, but the point is, you don’t have to.
It’s a good template for something really nice to serve that doesn’t require an exacting recipe, even though Claudia Roden’s was pretty darn good.