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Leafy greens pie, a recipe from the 16th century

Leafy greens pie

This recipe dates back to 1500. A one pot meal for the Vikings, if you want; so much in fashion nowadays. The ingredients are whatever it was in season and available in the garden. Imagine the countryside in 1500, chickens, cattle, milk, cheese, assorted vegetables, and if it was wintertime, cabbages to spare, so here it goes, a truly old faithful that never lets you down. You can make it a meal, or cut it into small little squares and it is fantastic finger food for your aperitivo. Have it warm or cold, always great.

Oh, yes, a bunch of quick notes on the ingredients before I forget, and you will be asking anyway.

The recipe calls for puff pastry: yes puff pastry was already available and very common. It was very similar to what we use today including the preparation process. However, because we all live in the real world most of the time, I have used a store-bought one, the pre-rolled.

Lardon: this is a type of Italian cured meat, basically pork fat with a little bit of meat and cured. Do not mix it up with some spreadable stuff that I have found here in the stores. If you can’t find it, you can either use some of the fat from prosciutto slices or substitute the whole thing with some fat pancetta.

Pecorino: this is something that has come up quite a bit in my classes. For some reasons, you guys think that when we refer to pecorino, we always have in mind only one type. There are at least three main Pecorino groups in Italy, we sometimes do not specify which one to use, because we just know. However, they are very different.

Pecorino Romano (from Lazio): the one that you are most acquainted with. The very white, very pungent and very salty, especially if not of good quality.

Pecorino Toscano (from Tuscany): one of my favorite especially the Stagionato (aged) I find it to have a more round flavor, let’s say, more user-friendly.

Pecorino Sardo (from Sardinia): another great favorite of mine, similar to the Toscano.

Here some other chef will kill me, however, I think that the Toscano and the Sardo can be exchanged in terms of flavor and consistency. The Romano belongs to its own world. If you have to grate them, like in this case, make sure you get a Stagionato (aged), with a harder paste.

Leafy greens pie, a recipe from the 16th century
 
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Total time
 
This recipe dates back to 1500. A one pot meal, if you want; so much in fashion nowadays. The ingredients are whatever it was in season and available in the garden. Imagine the countryside in 1500, chickens, cattle, milk...
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 sheets puff pastry rectangular for a (tin 8" x 12") or 2 rounds for a round tin (diameter 11")
  • 300 g freshly grated Pecorino Romano of good quality (or ½ pecorino and ½ dry Ricotta)
  • 500 g mixed leafy greens (spinach, chard, cabbage, escarole)
  • 30 g fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 15 g fresh mint finely chopped
  • 60 g lardon finely sliced
  • 4 +1 eggs
Instructions
  1. Put on a big pot of water to boil
  2. Preheat the oven at 350F
  3. Wash the greens and clean them up, don't bother to dry them, we are going to dump them in hot water anyways. Do not chop them yet, we want to keep all the good stuff in
  4. Cook them in hot boiling and salted water. Do not cover with a lid or they will start turning yellowish.
  5. When wilted, drain them under cold water and squeeze out all the excess moisture. You can use a kitchen towel to the purpose. Just put the greens on the towel, make a fagottino, basically grab the corners all together and start squeezing
  6. Chop them up coarsely, and remove any extra moisture and collect everything in a big bol
  7. Add mint and parsley coarsely chopped to the bowl
  8. Add 4 whole eggs, the grated cheese
  9. Season a little with salt and pepper. Just go easy on the salt, remember all the Pecorino. Go in with your hands and mix it up all nice
  10. Lay out the first puff pastry sheet in your pan. In these pictures, I have used a tart pan. Pinch some holes in the puff pastry to avoid some unsexy bubbles
  11. Get the veggie mix in your tart pan, level up and cover with the strips of lardon
  12. Cover up with the second sheet of puff pastry, poke a hole in the middle and seal the sides on the bottom pastry sheet.
  13. Mix the other egg yolk with a teaspoon of warm water and a pinch of salt. With a brush go over the top part of your tart. You can use this mix to seal the edges if you are having a hard time to seal them
  14. If you want to get fancy, you can cut the second sheet of puff pastry into thin strips and lace the top
  15. Cook in the thepreheated oven for about 60 min. Check it every once in a while and if it starts coloring more on one side, just turn the pan around
  16. Enjoy warm or cold with a nice bubbly white wine
Notes
Make it vegetarian and don't use the lard

 

 

 

Leafy greens pie, a recipe from the 16th century

 

This post is also available in: Italian

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