Vegetarian dish

Cut small, these quiche-like collard squares are perfect hors dÂ’oeuvres, but in big squares they are an excellent vegetarian entree. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: About 1 1/2 hours

Servings: 12

2 large bunches collard greens

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons butter plus extra for the baking dish

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 pound shiitakes, stems removed, caps finely diced

1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

8 large eggs

8 ounces Comté or Gruyère cheese, grated

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1. Remove the tough stems from the greens and wash the leaves well in several changes of cold water. Place them in a large pot and add the hot pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt. Add water to cover by several inches and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the greens are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain well and cool slightly, then squeeze dry and finely chop.

2. While the collards are cooking, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, sprinkle lightly with one-fourth teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the shiitakes and the tamari and sauté until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

4. Combine the collards and shiitakes in a bowl. Add the eggs, cheese and bread crumbs and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes. Cut into squares to serve hot or at room temperature.

Each serving: 188 calories; 12 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 12 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 167 mg. cholesterol; 478 mg. sodium.