It’s that weird inbetween season where the winter vegetables are coming to the tail end of their season, but the summer vegetables haven’t yet made an appearance. Well, that’s not quite true – I saw courgettes at Nosh yesterday… priced at a casual $19 a kg. I love courgettes, but not quite that much. Silverbeet, however, seems to be in season all year round here. From what I understand it grows wonderfully in the climate here, well, here in northern NZ anyway. I think it’s called different things in different places, so this is what I mean by silverbeet:
This whole always-in-season thing is rather marvellous because I love silverbeet. Well, specifically the stems, which I will post about later. I’m sort of doing this backwards, I should really post about the stalks first and why I love them so much (clue: there’s cheese involved). But instead, I’m going to talk about the leaves. They’re super bitter, so I wouldn’t eat them raw, but when it comes to cooking them, you can generally use them interchangeably with spinach.
I had a bunch of silverbeet leaves to use up, so I decided to throw them into a quiche with some feta. Quiches are the best way to use up leftovers or ingredients loitering in the fridge. Throw some ingredients together, beat together a couple of eggs and some crème fraîche, throw them all together in a pastry-lined tart tin, and boom, a fancy-pants vehicle for leftovers that’s actually insanely easy to prepare.
Bonus: any leftover quiche can be eaten cold for lunch (or warm for lunch, that works, too). Basically, quiche is a winner. This silverbeet and feta quiche is definitely a winner. It’s pretty light, perfect for lunch or a starter. Since it’s not totally filled with eggy mixture, the silverbeet leaves on the top go all crispy in the oven. Scrumptious! I’m submitting this quiche to September’s AlphaBakes, where the special letter is “Q.” The challenge is being hosted by Caroline Makes this month.
Silverbeet & feta quiche
Serves 4-6 as a starter, 3 as a main course
Recipe by Sharky Oven Gloves
This would work equally well with spinach leaves, and feel free to throw in some toasted pine nuts if you have some (unfortunately I didn’t). This quiche is delicious either warm out of the oven, or cooled down to room temperature and makes an excellent light meal or starter. If you want a more filling quiche, add more feta and silverbeet leaves, or add another egg and some more crème fraîche. This recipe is pretty flexible, so knock yourself out (not literally, please).
1 quantity of quiche pastry of your choice (I used this recipe)
200g silverbeet leaves
3 cloves garlic
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
175g crème fraîche
Salt and pepper
1. Butter and flour a 24cm fluted tart tin. Make your pastry, roll it out and line the tart tin with it. Prick the pastry with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C.
3. Wash the silverbeet leaves, pat them dry and slice them widthways in about 1cm strips (it doesn’t have to be perfect, we’re making quiche here). Peel and finely mince the garlic cloves.
4. Heat a drizzle of oil in large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 mins. Then add the silverbeet leaves. I generally add half the leaves and allow them to wilt for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining leaves to the pan. This helps to prevent silverbeet overflow. Cook until thoroughly wilted and reduced. Set aside to cool a little.
5. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Spread the mustard thinly over the base, then evenly crumble the feta over the top. Evenly spread the garlicky spinach over the top of the feta. In a medium bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, then whisk in the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper (you won’t need much salt since feta is usually quite salty). Pour over the top of the spinach.
6. Bake for 50 mins to 1h, until golden and cooked through. Allow to cool in the tin for about ten mins before serving or transferring to a wire rack to cool.