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Monday, April 26, 2010

Cookbook Challenge: Week 23, Leaf

Silverbeet frittata

Recipe: Silverbeet frittata
From: The Cook's Companion

Second recipe: Chard with olive oil & lemon
From: Nigel Slater's Tender

The theme for this week's Cookbook Challenge is "leaf" and I've decided to showcase silverbeet (chard). I think silverbeet is a seriously beautiful vegetable, with its snowy white stems and large dark green, ribbed leaves. And the rainbow versions are even more stunning, with their red, yellow, purple or orange stems. When Bro and I were younger, a friend who lived near us used to give mum silverbeet throughout winter. She must have grown buckets of the stuff, because we seemed to receive it constantly. So much in fact, that after we moved houses, we didn't (couldn't?) eat silverbeet again for years!

Silverbeet frittata

I don't blame my mother for not cooking silverbeet again for ages. While I think it's a fantastic vegetable there's only so much I can think to do with it. And a bunch goes a rather long way - I made two recipes out of my bunch of silverbeet. The first recipe was a silverbeet frittata from the Cook's Companion. I made us a large frittata for lunch, and a wee mini one for photos - aww look! Isn't it cute? Yes, that is a mini frying pan, and it was perfect for an individual sized frittata. The frittata was lovely, the earthiness of the silverbeet working really well with the egg and particularly the cheese. It was a very satisfying lunch, which we ate with fresh tomatoes.

The second recipe was a simple one - boiled silverbeet with garlic and lemon juice. I couldn't resist adding a big knob of butter to the pan when cooking the garlic and I'm glad I did. It made a tangy, buttery, garlicky sauce for the silverbeet and was a nice side dish for dinner tonight. (I also added some to the top of the frittata as a garnish).

So silverbeet - are you a lover or hater? And does anyone have any brilliant ideas on cooking it?

See previous Cookbook Challenge posts here

Update: see the round up at My Food Trail.

Silverbeet frittata

Silverbeet frittata

Adapted from the Cook's Companion

Serves 4

400g silverbeet
olive oil
onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
Handful of grated mozzarella (I just added this in because I had some in the fridge)
6 eggs, lightly beaten

Separate the silverbeet leaves from the stems. Trim the ends off the stems and cut into 1cm pieces and rinse thoroughly. Give the leaves a good rinse, then roll them up and slice.

In a 22-24cm frying pan, saute the stems, diced onion and garlic in oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the leaves, covering the pan until the leaves are wilted, and then saute for several more minutes. Tip the stems and leaves into a colander and allow to drain. After it has cooled a bit, give the silverbeet a squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.

Into a large bowl, add the egg, pepper, a bit of salt, cheese and drained silverbeet and mix well. Wipe the frying pan with kitchen paper and place on a high heat with a good glug of oil. When the pan is hot, tip in the egg mixture and lower the heat to medium.

Let the egg mixture cook until the top is just moist, running a spatula around the sides and under the frittata as it cooks to make sure it doesn't stick.

Slide the pan under a preheated grill for a minute to cook the top, then loosen with a spatula and slide on to a warmed plate. Cut into thick wedges and serve.

First, cook the veg (if you don't, they will release their juices into the frittata, which will be too watery). Cut the stems from the Swiss chard and roughly chop. Cook in a large pot of simmering salted water for 10 minutes. Wash the leaves well, roughly chop, and add to the pot. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until wilted.

Drain well and cool, then squeeze out any excess water. Beat the eggs, egg yolks, cream, parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a bowl. Heat the butter and oil in a non-stick fry pan, and pour in the eggs. Arrange the drained greens in the pan, jiggling them so they settle into the egg.

Cook over moderate heat until the eggs have set on the bottom and are lightly golden. Heat the grill, wrap the fry pan handle with kitchen foil and place under the grill for a few minutes until lightly golden and just-set in the middle. If it's still runny, cover the pan and give it another couple of minutes over moderate heat. Cut into big wedges and serve.

Chard with olive oil & lemon

Adapted from: Nigel Slater's Tender

450g white stemmed chard / silverbeet
3 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced finely
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
knob of butter
a lemon, cut in half

Separate the stems from the leaves and wash thoroughly in cold water.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the stems. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until they are soft and still retain some bite. Remove the stems from the water and leave to drain in a colander.

Bring the water back to the boil and add the leaves - they will only take 1-2 minutes to cook. Remove the leaves from the water and drain in a colander.

Pour the olive oil and butter into a pan on low heat. Add the garlic and cook gently - don't let it colour. Tip in the drained silverbeet leaves and stems and fold them over in the warm oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and squeeze half of the lemon over the silverbeet. Serve immediately with the other half of the lemon on the side.

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