Greens, olives & pecan tart

Greens olives and pecan tart

Malcolm and Isaac did some free writing in school. Isaac said that he wrote about Clio, our puppy. He wrote that she was mostly housebroken. It’s sweet that he loves her, and he’s “writing what he knows,” which is the oldest advice in the book. He’s writing about something solid and important to him. We asked Malcolm what he wrote about, and I expected something along the same lines. “Tennis ball world!” Yes, a world made entirely of tennis racket strings. We all have tennis balls on our shoes, and we bounce from place to place. And there’s water under the tennis racket strings, and we all have cups that we can dip in the water… I love both answers so much! For some reason it made me think of Thoreau’s quote, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” For Malcolm and Isaac at this moment, imagination is their work. Letting their minds wander, and inventing new worlds and new ways of living in this world is their job. I love to see the earthbound objects that hold their flights of fancy. Everything they see and hear and find and eat, everything is fed into the fire of their imaginations and comes out wonderfully transformed. My mom and dad gave Malcolm my old tennis rackets. Isaac’s new pictures of dragons have Clio’s claws. It’s all connected. I hope as they get older they manage to find a balance between practical and fantastical. I’ve seen their drawings and heard their stories, I know they’ll both make remarkable castles.

This tart has layers. It has lots of greens. It’s very densely greeny. The crust is tall and thin and crispy, to provide some crunch for all the greeniness. We got bags of small fall lettuces from the CSA. They’re a little bitter, and very delicate. Not to everyone’s taste in a salad. But if you sautee them lightly, and then combine them with eggs and cheese, their sharpness provides just the right kick. If you can’t find little fall lettuces, you can use arugula. The second layer also involves greens. It’s chard, not pureed, but chopped, so it retains some of it’s lovely texture. It’s combined with olives and garlic. And the top layer is a sort of pecan frangipane – another custard, that has the sweet nutty taste of pecans whirled right in.

Here’s one of my all time favorites…Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Mama Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the air Burning?

2 cups flour
1 cup oats, toasted and ground
1 t salt
lots of black pepper
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter – frozen

Combine the flour, ground oats, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Grate in the butter, and mix with a fork till you have a coarse, crumb-like consistency. Add just enough ice water to form a workable dough. Knead for about half a minute, then roll into a ball, cover in foil, and chill in the fridge for at least half an hour.

2 cups sharp fall greens – arugula, small lettuces, dandelion greens (or just arugula, if that’s all you can find!)
2 cups chard, washed, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t rosemary
7 or 8 fresh sage leaves, or 1 t dried.
1/3 cup olives, pitted and chopped
4 eggs
1 cup grated smoked gouda
1 cup mozzarella, chopped into small cubes
1 cup pecans, ground
1/3 & 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup flour
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Roll the dough to be just bigger than the pan. Press it into the pan, folding it over the top slightly to hold up the tall sides. Bake for about ten minutes, till it loses it’s shiny quality. The first time I looked in the oven, after a few minutes, the dough had completely collapsed in a puddle in the pan. I gently pulled it back up and slightly over the sides, pressing it against the pan, and it was fine after that. Careful not to burn your fingers if this happens!

Wash the fall greens and roughly chop them. Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for under a minute till it starts to brown. Add the sage and the greens with the water still clinging to them, and cook until they’re wilted, and the pan is quite dry. Transfer to a blender or food processor, and add 2 eggs, 1 cup smoked gouda and the milk. Blend until fairly smooth but still flecked with green. Season with salt and a little pepper. Pour into the tart shell.

Warm the other tablespoon of olive oil in the same large frying pan. Add the rosemary and garlic, and when the garlic starts to brown, after less than a minute, add the chard with the water clinging to it’s leaves. Add the olives, and stir and cook until the chard is wilted and tender, and the pan is fairly dry. Transfer to a bowl, mix in the cubes of mozzarella, and season with salt and pepper. Spread over the custard layer in the tart pan.

In a food processor, combine the pecans, flour, the remaining 2 eggs and the remaining 1/3 cup milk. Pour over the greens layers in the tart.

Cook for half an hour to forty minutes, until the top is puffed and golden.

Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then open the pan – you might need to break the top edges off, but it will still be pretty.

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3 thoughts on “Greens, olives & pecan tart

  1. Pingback: Tomato and artichoke tart with walnut custard | Out of the Ordinary

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