Spring Green Shakshuka



Spring Green Shakshuka
This first appeared in the Clemson Area Food Exchange newsletter, edited by Ellie Sharp

Traditional shakshuka is a spiced tomato-based egg dish that originates in Israel where it is served for breakfast. In the United States it is more popular in the evening and is a perfect eggs-for-dinner-kinda-meal. Since tomatoes aren’t yet in season locally, I created an alternative by highlighting fresh greens. A bed of local spring ingredients really showcases the beauty of goose eggs. And, wow, the goose eggs are truly spectacular. Chicken and duck eggs are great, too, and can be used in place of goose eggs. You can easily swap the base of spring greens with whatever you have on hand: sub in kale and spinach for the Swiss chard and escarole; use asparagus instead of Brussels sprouts. Do try to include escarole if you can! If you haven’t tried it, this dish is a perfect intro for you as its nuttiness really comes through. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 TB butter
  • 3 to 4 small leeks or 1 bunch of scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup of Brussels sprouts, quartered 
  • 1 small bag of baby Swiss chard, chopped
  • ½ head of escarole, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Goose eggs (2-4 depending on the size of your pan)
  • Goat cheese
  • Pea shoots dressed in vinegar (optional but highly recommended)


Directions:
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Select a large, oven-safe sauté pan. 
3. Melt the butter in the pan. Add the leeks and Brussels sprouts, sautéing until they start to soften. Add the chopped greens and minced garlic and cook just until the greens are wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Be careful to not to cook too much here as everything will go into the oven soon. 
4. Using a spatula, create “dents” in the greens into which you will crack the eggs. I used 3 goose eggs, so I made three nice dents/craters in the greens. Crack eggs into place. Season each egg with salt and pepper. 
5. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes depending on how well done you want your eggs. If you like your eggs easy, start checking at 15 minutes for their firmness. If using chicken eggs, start checking around 6 minutes. You can gently shake the pan to see how set the egg whites are. 
6. When ready, remove from the  oven and top with crumbled goat cheese. Add pea shoots in the center (microgreens make an excellent substitute) and drizzle everything with a few splashes of a nice herbal/finishing vinegar. You know you have that weird one in the back of your pantry and this is a great time to use it!   

Spanakopita Quiche

Originally appeared in the Clemson Area Food Exchange newsletter, Edited by Ellie Sharp

The bounty of spring brings to mind eggs, greens, and dairy! I know everybody is making quiche and frittata these days, but I wanted to introduce something that’s a little different: spanakopita-inspired quiche! This rich and savory dish brings Greek flavors to your table any time of day, and takes full advantage of local ingredients. You will need to purchase a few items from the store, but it’s more than worth it!

If you’ve never worked with phyllo dough before, you can find it in the freezer section next to puff pastry and pie dough shells. Make sure to thaw it the night before so it’s ready to go when you are ready to cook. Phyllo dough can be finicky: it dries out quickly and the super-thin sheets make it a blessing and a curse — difficult to work with but a joy to eat. For this recipe, it doesn’t need to be perfect, and tearing will add to the rustic plating, but do make sure you take the time to prep your ingredients and work space so that you can twork quickly once you unwrap the dough.

A note about equipment. I used a 10-inch springform pan so that I could remove the “collar” or side of the pan for a pretty presentation. This is totally not necessary and this recipe will work in a regular 9 inch pie pan! However, if you do use a 10-inch springform pan, I do recommend adding 2 more eggs (for a total of 6 eggs) as it’s a bit bigger and fills out nicer. I made the recipe both ways with equal success. 

Ingredients

  • ½ package of phyllo dough
  • 4 TB. butter, melted
  • 1 TB butter or cooking oil of choice
  • 1 package of large scallions/spring onions, diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb greens – I used a combination of swiss chard and spinach to mix it up
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • S & P
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped herbs – dill, parsley, oregano, chives are all good choices
  • 4 oz. feta, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Defrost phyllo dough in the fridge the night before. Take it out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while you start prepping the quiche filling.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400. 
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter/heat oil and add onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Start adding greens in batches, stirring to wilt and incorporate. Continue adding until all greens are cooked down, reserving one small handful of spinach leaves for the top. 
  5. While this happens, you can whisk eggs in a bowl with the milk. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  6. When all greens have wilted down, season the skillet with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and fresh herbs. Turn the heat off, taste and adjust seasonings. 
  7. Set up your phyllo dough station. Unwrap phyllo dough and set next to melted butter with a brush. Using your preferred quiche pan, brush the insides with melted butter. Start by removing one phyllo sheet and covering the bottom of the pan. Brush lightly with butter. Place another sheet down in the other direction to cover the bottom thoroughly and brush with butter. Now, work on draping the sheets of dough over the pan. Brush each lightly with butter, and continue draping the sheets of dough to cover the sides and bottom of the pan while creating a large overhang on the outside of the pan. If you need to walk away or notice your phyllo dough drying out very quickly, you can cover it with a very lightly damp dish towel that will help! I used roughly 15-20 sheets of phyllo dough. I still had some leftover that I wrapped up for another use. 
  8. Next, spread the greens over the dough, spreading out in an equal layer. Top with whisked eggs/milk. Finally, top with crumbled feta cheese.
  9. Fold the hanging dough on top of the quiche. You may have to crinkle it a bit to make sure you can visually see the greens in the center. Drizzle remaining butter all over the top of the phyllo.
  10. Bake the quiche at 400 for about 35 minutes until the dough is browned and crunchy and the eggs are set (if it jiggles in the center, the eggs may need another minute or two)!