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Greens and Potato Torta or Galette

Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Greens and potato torta or galette
(Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)
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This luscious pie works well with a number of greens — chard, rapini, beet greens, spinach, whatever looks best in the market. You can make it in a tart or springform pan, as a double-crusted torte, or it is quite dramatic as a more open-faced galette baked on a cookie sheet.

Yeasted crusts are easier to manipulate than short crusts. They don’t crack and tear. Just be sure to roll this nice and thin so that it doesn’t become too bready. When making the torta, prepare the pastry first, then make the filling while it’s rising.

The order in which you do things isn’t that important — you can make part or all of the filling one day, and the crust another (or vice versa), and put it all together when you’re ready to bake.

It is meant to be served as a main dish, and it is good hot or cold. It is great party fare and is also a wonderful meal for the family, and leftovers pack easily into a lunchbox.

From the story: Pie for Dinner: The Mediterranean Pleasure

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1

Place the potatoes and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large pot of water (you’ll be cooking the greens in the same water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partly and boil the potatoes until tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, stem the greens and wash the leaves thoroughly, making sure to remove all sand.

2

When the potatoes are done, remove from the water and set aside until cool enough to handle, then cut in 1/2-inch slices. Bring the water back to a rolling boil and add another teaspoon of salt and the greens. Blanch until just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon or deep-fry skimmer and transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water. Drain and squeeze dry. It is not necessary to remove every drop of water. Chop coarsely and set aside.

3

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Stir in the greens, potatoes, parsley and basil and gently toss together. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a large bowl.

4

In a food processor, process the ricotta or cottage cheese until smooth. Scrape down the sides. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the beaten eggs, and add the rest to the processor, along with the milk. Beat together, then transfer to the bowl with the greens. Stir in the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, add more salt and pepper and the nutmeg, and combine everything thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings.

5

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Gently punch down the pastry dough. If making a galette, roll out into a large, thin circle, about 16 inches in diameter. Top with the filling, leaving a 2 1/2-inch edge, and fold the edges in over the filling, draping folds all the way around. If you can stretch the dough up to the middle, gather the edges together and shape a little top knot. Otherwise you can leave an opening in the center. If making a torta, oil a 10-inch pie dish, springform pan or a tart pan with a removable rim. Roll out two-thirds of the dough into a thin circle, and line the pie dish or pan; ease the dough into the edges. There should be some overhang. Fill with the greens mixture. Roll out the other piece of dough into a circle, and place on top of the filling. Fold the edges of the bottom crust over the top crust, and crimp the dough all the way around the edge. Gently score the top of the dough with a paring knife. Brush the torte or galette with the reserved egg.

6

Bake until the top is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot or warm.

Yeasted olive oil pastry

1

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar and allow to sit until the mixture is creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and the olive oil. Combine 2 cups of the flour and the salt and stir into the yeast mixture. You can use a bowl and wooden spoon for this, or a mixer; combine the ingredients using the paddle, then switch to the dough hook. Work the dough until it comes together in a coherent mass, adding flour as necessary. The dough should be springy and not stick to your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth; do not overwork the dough. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead a couple of times and cut into 2 equal pieces (or as directed in the recipe). Shape each piece into a ball. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes, then roll out into thin rounds, as directed in the recipe, and line pans. If not using right away, freeze the dough to prevent it from rising and becoming too bready. The dough can be transferred directly from the freezer to the oven.

Make Ahead:
The pie can be made ahead or frozen.