The last two weeks our farmer has offered pie recipes in her newsletter – and provided vegetables and early greens for savory pies – pies to use the shoulder-season bounty.
Spring farming and Saturday markets require fortitude by farmers, but reward shoppers with early greens, big bags of arugula or stir-fry mix, fresh eggs, potatoes and parsnips and their kin, and beautiful plant starts. (Kale and chard now huddle on our front porch along with little pea plants.)
The pie project began with “Greens Quiche with Potato Crust Pie.” For the quick-to-make crust, combine four cups of shredded raw potatoes (two medium potatoes and a small one), half cup of diced onion, a beaten egg, one cup of flour, and half a teaspoon salt and press into a well-greased, 10-inch pie plate (mine is only nine – bigger would be better). Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes, then remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°. Spread about six ounces of grated cheese (to taste – Dubliner cheddar was good) in the bottom of the crust.
For the filling: sauté half a chopped onion (or a leek or two green garlics) in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper until tender. Add in half a pound of any greens you have – all the season’s tender baby greens are perfect (I cut them in thin ribbons like the kale salad). Sauté with the onions till tender and much reduced in volume. Arrange over the potato crust.
Whisk two eggs and a cup and a third of milk together and pour over the greens. Top with more cheese (about a half cup) and bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes more. The pie puffs up with inviting good cheer and tastes great. The crust becomes a sort of potato-onion bread-like platform for the quiche.
Next up: Parsnip Pie. Sauté a chopped onion or shallot, two teaspoons dried thyme, and half teaspoon of salt in two tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
Steam two large parsnips until tender, then puree with one egg, quarter cup tahini, quarter cup milk, and the juice of one lemon. Pour into a prepared piecrust and top with a quarter cup of chopped nuts. Bake 350° for one hour. The result: a tart and tasty treat. (The wordsmith, after eating the pie at our book group, declared it the best use of parsnips ever, adding, “the crust was as good as the filling.” Deborah gets credit – I used whole-wheat and white flour in her “Pie Crust Made with Oil” recipe.)
Spring’s been long in coming, but these pies please while we wait.