Every other Wednesday, I pick up my CSA box from a neighbor’s house, and it’s probably my favorite 15 minutes of the day — unloading all the gorgeous, fresh produce, poring over the newsletter the farm includes with flavor notes and cooking suggestions. (Now, thanks to my friend Marissa, I’m even trying to draw my vegetables). This week, the most exciting things I unloaded were some giant, rock-like Purple Viking potatoes and the season’s first zucchini. I know that a few weeks from now, I’ll be whining and moaning and wondering why my zucchini is multiplying like so many bunnies, but for now, it’s a delight.
My first thought was to re-make a particular tart from last summer, but it turns out I’d completely misremembered how to do it — I thought it had a cornmeal crust when in fact it had no crust at all, and the layers of potato and zucchini, while certainly delicious, were pretty much the only compelling things about the recipe. But my furious googling for that recipe turned up many others that gave me new inspiration.
I smushed a bunch of ideas together and ended up with a quiche-like filling poured into a crispy potato crust, which — why on earth have I not made a crust out of potato before? So easy: shred potatoes, add egg, bake, eat something that tastes suspiciously like french fries. I’m guessing the filling could be any vegetables you wanted; the turnips were a last-second addition when I realized I might finally have a use for a few that had been in my fridge far too long. (I actually should have picked up more today, but I left them in the CSA swap box and took extra basil home instead.)
My biggest surprise was that I used less of everything than I planned — one potato instead of two (granted, it was a hefty potato); only one zucchini; even less cheese. Full disclosure: Pete came home in time to finish up the seasoning, so I can’t claim much part of that, but I will say that what he added was totally delicious and not at all what I would have done. That’s part of the learning, right?
One last thing: If you have an awesome grater like I do, then by all means, shred everything. (Sometimes I grate things just for fun, this thing is that awesome.) If you don’t, slicing/chopping would be just fine for everything but the potato crust.
Zucchini and Turnip Pie with Potato Crust
Ingredients – for the crust
2-ish cups potato, shredded
1/4 of a medium onion, shredded or finely chopped
salt and pepper
Ingredients – for the filling
2-ish cups zucchini, shredded
the rest of the onion, shredded or finely chopped
1/2 cup of turnips, shredded
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
a bit of shredded cheese
spices of your choice (we used: regular salt and pepper, shallot salt, and a bit of Chinese five-spice powder)
1. First, make the crust. Preheat the oven to 400. In a bowl, combine the shredded potato and onion and season with salt and pepper.
2. Beat the egg, pour it over the potato mixture, and stir.
3. Butter/oil the baking dish of your choice (mine was a 9″ glass pie plate) and press the potato mixture into the bottom and up the sides.
4. Bake the crust for 40 minutes. (One recipe I read said something about baking for 25 minutes, then brushing it with olive oil, then baking for the other 15 so that it would get crispier. I did that, but I’m not sure it added much except a dirty kitchen brush.)
5. While the crust is baking, shred up the rest of the vegetables. When the crust has about 10 minutes to go, start to saute them in a little butter/oil/saute magic liquid of your choosing. Season them as they’re getting soft.
6. In a large bowl, beat together the 2 eggs and 2 whites. Stir in the vegetables and add cheese, if you’d like, or any other seasonings.
7. Pour the filling mixture into the crust and pop it back into the oven until it looks set — probably about 20-25 minutes. (Mine was 20 on the dot.)
8. Let cool for about five minutes so it’s not a sloppy, eggy mess when you cut into it.