February 21, 2011

Savory Dinner Tart

My sincerest apologies for being absent these past few weeks; I'm still getting into the rhythm of this whole blogging thing.  Things have been pretty busy, but in a very good way.  There has been lots of thesis-finishing, a bit of job-hunting, some dog-sitting, birthday-celebrating, new flavor-discovering, good book-reading, exciting new book-starting, warmer weather-appreciating.... and of course cooking. The DEB kitchen has been rather busy, and I have loads of tasty treats to share with you that will trickle out as I get the photos uploaded. (Note- photo quality may be lacking in the upcoming posts as I'm doing the edits on my lap-top and I can't ever tell if the color is right.  As always, you have to trust me that I don't actually cook or eat ugly things.) To start, here's a simple recipe that's perfect for the coming end of the season: one more taste of the winter greens and squashes, warm and light, and perfect with a glass of white wine to remind you of warm and sunny days ahead.  

I've got a thing for this flavor combination- I can't help it.  I love the sweet earthy squash + greens combo.  I've used it in ravioli, it's one of my favorite pizza toppings, I've put it in a bread pudding, and now I've thrown it onto puff pastry for a delicious dinner tart.  (It's also recently debuted in a whole new form... stay tuned)  What's great about this dish is that you get a whole meal out of 30 minutes of work, and it tastes like it took you 2 hours.  Plus, it's completely adaptable- you can switch up the ingredients, or resize it for sides or appetizers.  The eggs on top provide a great creaminess to the dish that makes up for the lack of any real melty cheese on it.  (This is a great trick on pizza, too.)  However, if it weirds you out, or you don't like eggs, just leave them off and it will still be fantastic.  
Savory Squash and Kale Tart
1/2 winter squash (acorn, kabocha, butternut, or even sweet potatoes would work here)
1 small bunch kale (or chard, or spinach, or any other green you like)
1 small onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, sliced
1 box puff pastry (2 sheets)
1.5 cups grated parmesan
3 eggs
salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cube the squash, and boil until tender in water, then drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, cut the kale into small pieces, and saute over medium heat until wilted (about 10 minutes).  Stir in a tiny dash of nutmeg, salt, and pepper at the end.  Set aside to cool. Caramelize the onions: heat oil to med-high in a pan, add onions, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until lightly browned.  Add 1/2 cup water, turn heat down to medium, continue cooking until soft.  (This is a quickie version of caramelized onion- see here for details on why this works. And if you try the baking soda stuff, let me know how it works!)

Lay your 2 sheets of puff pasty next to each other on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pinch the edges together so they become one big sheet. Lay down the onions, sprinkle with salt, then add the squash, and then cover the whole thing with parmesan.  Top with the wilted kale, then distribute the garlic slices.  Finally, crack the eggs over the tart, and transfer the pan to the oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and golden brown and the egg whites are completely set.  Allow it to cool slightly before cutting.

Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated in the oven or toaster oven- even the egg was still good the next day!
Ideas:  Nobody would object to a smear of good grainy mustard on the pastry before you add the onions, and if you have some bacon or leftover meat the carnivore your life might appreciate that thrown on at the end as well.  

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