Saturday, 1 December 2012

Veg to the Power of Pie

Torta Salata Caramellata, di Cavolo Rosso, Finnocchio & Feta
Caramelized Red Cabbage, Fennel & Feta Cheese Pie

This blog entry tells only a part of this evenings supper story... the rest is yet to come! I didn't say "the best" mind you- only "the rest"- as this little treat here took quite some beating! It was only a part of my supper tonight, but so good, quick and easy I decided to give it it's own little spotlight... and I hope you all approve!

It was the last wedge of red cabbage... the stuff that has been turning my meals blue all week! The color is a matter of taste, (no pun intended... much), but the flavor is really great- especially when you accentuate it with something sweet... like apple as I did early in the week- or like I did tonight with fennel and honey. Add a little feta cheese for seasoning and contrast and you have a winning team right there on your plate!

If you want to make this, you will need around 45 minutes of time- as the rest of my meal, coming up in the next segment, took the same amount of time, that made it just perfect! What you need to do is to get the oven turned on and warming whilst you start chopping that cabbage... it's all about timing!

I cut the cabbage into a relatively fine dice and popped it into my frying pan with a little olive oil, some fennel seed, a little crushed garlic and some finely chopped Spring onion. Once everything was sizzling away nicely, I added a splash of orange juice and seasoned with salt, pepper, a small bay leaf and a little cumin. I topped it up with boiling water, then reduced the heat to a simmer and let it render down for 5-10 minutes, stirring every now and then. What you want after around 15 minutes cooking time in all, is a relatively soft and relatively dry mass, so that it does not end up making the pastry soggy.

The next step is to add the diced fennel and a good squeeze of honey, as well as a fine dice of Feta cheese right at the end- only don't do too much stirring now or you will turn everything pink again!

For the pie base, line you pie dish with puff pastry and cut off the excess at the top with a sharp knife. Now cut 2 extra strips of pasty- 1 " wide is more than enough, and press them together with the base around the top edge- this will puff up and look so much better! 

Spoon in the cabbage, fennel and cheese filling and bake for 15-20 minutes, until everything is perfect and the pastry is lovely and brown... delicious! And if you click onto my next entry, you can read how my story continued and which other ingredients I was able to prepare whilst the oven did its thing with my pie!

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