This delicious dish is another unique contribution supplied to Starts at 60 for Meat Free Week and it’s one to pull out when you really want to impress a table full with something new.
This delicious chard and leek crostata has been supplied by Anna Jones and is included in her book, The Modern Cook’s Year. The addictive treat is not only a healthier choice, but it’s also an absolute crowd pleaser and one that is bound to stand out when you fancy a recipe with a twist!
- Olive oil
- 2 leeks, outer leaves removed, washed and finely shredded
- a bunches of chard (about 200g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- a pinch of dried chilli flakes
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 small mixed bunch of thyme, rosemary and sage, finely chopped
- 26g Parmesan (can use a vegetarian one)
- 3 medium organic eggs
- 60g walnuts
- 200g white spell flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 100g very cold butter, cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
- First, make the pastry. Put the walnuts into a food processor and blitz until you have fine, uniform crumbs, but keep an eye on it – if you go too far, they will start to come together as a nut butter. Add the flour and salt and pulse a few times to mix everything evenly.
- Add the butter and pulse a few times until you have a rough looking dough. With the motor running, add a tablespoon of the very cold water and pulse again for four turns of the blade.
- Take the lid off and pinch the dough with your fingers. Add a little more water if it feels dry and keep blitzing until the dough comes together in a ball; it should be a buttery pastry and not feel crumbly. Wrap the dough in cling film or greaseproof paper and put it into the fridge.
- Warm a frying pan over a medium heat, pour in a drizzle of olive oil and add the leeks, the finely chopped herbs and a pinch of salt. Fry for 5-7 minutes, until the leeks are soft and sweet.
- While this is happening, wash the chard and strip the leaves from their stalks. Slice the stalks into 2cm lengths, then roll up the leaves and slice across the middle into 1cm wide ribbons.
- Back to the leeks. Add the garlic, dried chilli and fennel seeds and fry in the pan for a couple of minutes to toast the spices. When the pan is smelling aromatic, add the chard stalks and stir.
- Cook for 5 minutes until the stalks lose their rawness, then stir in the leaves and add the vinegar. Cook until the leaves have wilted – about 4 minutes. Put the vegetables onto a plate to cool and preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
- Grate in the Parmesan and whisk in the eggs with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
- Take the walnut pastry out of the fridge and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Drizzle some olive oil into the centre of the paper. If your baking sheet is quite flat, you should be able to roll the pastry out to a round – about 30cm across and 1cm deep. If you have a standard deep roasting tray, flip it over and place the paper on the underside instead.
- Mix the cooled vegetables with the egg mixture. Arrange the vegetables in the centre of the pastry, leaving about 3cm around the edge. Gently fold the pastry border back over the vegetables, pleating a little as you go. It will be crumbly and more difficult to handle than other doughs and may break at its edges, but it will be worth it for the flaky short pastry at the end.
- Place the crostata in the centre of the hot oven and bake for 35 minutes, until the edges are deep golden and the filling is starting to bubble, then turn the heat down to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and bake for a further 15 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through.
- Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then slide on to a wire rack to cool and let the pastry crisp up.