Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hasty Pastry!

Torta Salata di Sfoglia con Bietola, Fiocchi di Pomodoro & Mozzarella
Puff-Pastry Pie with Swiss Chard, Tomato Flakes & Mozzarella


Do you happen to have puff-pastry in the fridge? Most of us usually do- and I know that I myself definitely try to have a roll at home at all times. It may not be the best thing for your diet- but it will always put a smile on anybody's face and a yummy something or other in their tummies!

But most importantly- it is always easy to use and super-versatile! And it can transform the simplest of ingredients into a real treat in next to no time.

You are looking at proof of that statement right here in this post!

Swiss chard, I know and love and of course, we all know how egg and mozzarella cheese taste- so far, so good! But, I had another ingredient or two that went into this lovely little pie, to make it unusual and truly delicious- read on to find out, in the ingredients list... which is coming straight up!


To make this pie, which was about 10" in size, I needed 1 pack of puff-pastry, 1 mozzarella cheese, 1 egg, 2 Spring onions, 1 small Swiss chard, pepper and nutmeg to season- and a new ingredient for me- tomato flakes.

These are tiny flakes of absolutely dehydrated tomato- like sun-dried tomatoes on speed!


The combination of flavors was very traditional tasting to me in the finished result... very reminiscent of the cannelloni my mother prepares with Swiss chard, ground meat, Bechamel and tomato sauce... but without the meat of course, without all the work- yet still, with that rich Italian flavor that we all know and love so much!


This is another of those dishes that taste great both hot and cold! Not that you are going to have any left-overs- haha! You can take my word for that!


Ok, turn on your oven, first and foremost, to get it nice and hot- and then get started by washing the chard, which often tends to be VERY sandy, and then cutting the stalks away from the leaves.


Cut the stalks and the Spring onions up finely and cut the leaves into thin shreds.


Pop the stalks of the chard and the onion into a frying pan, with just barely enough water to cover the base, season generously with nutmeg and pepper, crank up the heat, stir through once and then put on the lid and let them steam for 3-4 minutes.


By the time the water has all been absorbed, being chopped so finely, the chard will be almost done.


Add another little splash of water, the chard leaves, and a generous sprinkle of those crazy tomato flakes- 2 tablespoons in this case. Pop the lid back on and let them steam for a further 3-4 minutes.


You will notice that I have opted to steam the vegetables, rather than fry them- and my reason is that as far as I am concerned, there is more than enough fat in this dish already in the pastry... and less is more. "Nuff said!

Set the greens to one side to cool off thoroughly- in the meantime, chop up the mozzarella into a fine dice and cut your pastry to size, to fit your baking dish or tray.


Once the greens have cooled off thoroughly, add the mozzarella, the beaten egg and more nutmeg and pepper. Stir everything through until you have a nice, even mix- and you are ready to start assembling that pie!


Spread out the filling onto your pastry base, leaving a good couple of inches all around the outer edge.


Fold, or "pleat" the pastry down flat, all the way around, to give it that nice, decorative finish and then pop it into a hot oven to bake at 180°C for around 25 minutes, until it is baked through, puffed up and golden brown.


Allow the pie to sit and "rest" for at least 10 minutes before serving- firstly- it will be too hot to dig straight into! And secondly- it will give the pastry a chance to become more stable and will make sure that any moisture in the egg/chard filling will cook through and become firmer and easier to cut and serve.


And all you have to do then is to enjoy!

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