Now that the frost has appeared on the lawn and the sun is shining we can really tackle true comfort food. This delicious dish is made using your frying pan and I have cooked it hundreds of times in various guises. In the winter months cavolo nero works particularly well alongside robust cheeses that cook brilliantly - Old Winchester, Westcombe Cheddar and Isle of Mull. Other green brassica (I happened to find some beautiful Cavolo Nero in Waitrose for 35p so quickly was drawn in! ) work too including the incredibly popular Curly Kale and Swiss Chard.
I must also mention where the recipes originally comes from. If you have yet to read anything by Anna Jones whether in her online articles, website or books then I really insist you look her up immediately. Her writing style is intelligent yet down to earth and she has such a balanced, healthy approach to food and how it can enrich and enhance your life.
CHEESE & CAVOLO NERO PIE (adapted from Anna Jones, A Modern Way To Cook)
Ingredients 2 Onions ( I use red ones in the summer months) Olive Oil / Coconut Oil 2 free range eggs Bunch of fresh herbs (again I tweak these according to the season so thyme and rosemary in the winter and then mint, basil and parsley in the summer) 3 x sweet potatoes (the original recipe uses butternut squash but I found them too sweet! You could also use new potatoes when they come into season) 200g Cavolo Nero (or spinach, kale etc etc) 1 x lemon 100g of goats cheese (I recommend Tomme Chevre here that has sufficient depth of flavour and ageing) 100g of black olives (I used confit olives from the stall which worked brilliantly but kalamata are delicious too but perhaps more time consuming to destone) 100g of hard cheese (rind is perfectly acceptable here) 1 x 200g of filo pastry (make your own if you are pastry chef!)
Preheat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / Gas 7.
Pop a saucepan on a low heat and add the oil (I always use Coconut Oil these days as I have around 4 jars in the cupboard and I find it fries much better than olive oil due to a higher smoking temperature). Chop your onions up finely and then add to the pan and bring the heat up so they are frying but not catching or turning colour.
As the onions are cooking away, get roughly chopping your sweet potatoes/squash/new potatoes and add to the onion pan along with your herbs for around 5 minutes or until the mixture has absorbed all the oil and are lightly coloured. Take off the heat, put into a bowl and add your eggs and grated hard cheese (it is important to put the veggies into a cold bowl otherwise your eggs will scramble!), season and mix well so it is all combined.
Put the saucepan back on a medium heat (there is no need to clean it) and shred the cavolo nero / kale into the saucepan with olive oil and the zest and juice of a lemon. Work quickly here to prevent it from sticking (you want it to be wilting and smelling wonderful) and again take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Ok, here is the slightly fiddly part. Get your filo pastry sheets out and lay them over your frying pan so they are covering and also overlapping the edges as you will eventually bring them in. Lay each one so they cross over making the tart at least 3 layers thick, robust and less likely to fall apart! Using a pastry brush oil the inside of the tart and then add your onion/sweet potato mixture and put onto a medium heat. Next add the cavolo nero and dot the top with the goats cheese and olives. Fold the excess filo that is overlapping and bring it into the centre to create a wave around the edge of the pie.
Put the frying pan into the bottom of the oven (again it is important it goes on the bottom so the tart cooks all the way through) for 20 -30 minutes until it is golden and crispy.
Serve with green salad. I like rocket and watercress during the colder months. Here is a link to a fantastic dressing which transforms any lettuce leaf Jamie's Green Sauce.
Drink wise - a light red so a slightly chilled Pinot works or any French Sauvignon Blanc that is leaner in style.