Thursday, December 31, 2009

Greek zucchini pie

I had a few different ideas of what to do with the zucchini this time around. My first choice was a couscous dish, but I decided to put it off until I can get hold of some merguez sausage (which means probably no time soon). This, instead, is a cross between these zucchini galettes, originally from Bon Appétit magazine, and a more traditional Greek kolokithopita. Or maybe it's just a quiche; I dunno.

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2-4 Tablespoons cold water

1 large zucchini and 1 small summer squash, grated
1 small onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
3 1/2 ounces well-flavored feta, crumbled
1/3 cup Greek yogurt [I substituted the sour cream I had on hand, but yogurt would be better.]
3 eggs
1 small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
a little bit of fresh mint leaves, chopped
a little bit of fresh dill, chopped [I was out, but it's a traditional compliment to the other flavors in this dish.]
pecorino romano or kefalotiri cheese if you can get it

0. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

1. For the crust, mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse several times until the butter is incorporated and the mixture looks a little coarse. Add the water Tablespoon by Tablespoon, pulsing in between, until the dough just barely comes together. Remove the dough to a work surface, work it into a ball, split in half, flatten each piece into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for a half hour.

2. Meanwhile, grate the zucchini and squash (or whatever you've got), mix with 1/4 teaspoon salt, put in a colander and let sit for a half hour. Afterward, squeeze out most of the moisture.

3. Heat olive oil and/or butter over medium-high heat in a medium pan. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook five minutes more until the zucchini is softened and slightly browned. Remove from heat.

4. Mix feta, yogurt and eggs in a large bowl. Add the zucchini mixture and the herbs. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and roll out to about 10-inches in diameter. Place it into a 9-inch pie pan and adjust it so it's lining the pan properly. Pour in the filling and grate the romano cheese over top. I folded the excess dough over the top for a bit of the galette feel. You could top the pie with the other half of the dough instead if you'd like. I ended up saving it for another recipe.

6. Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for 25 minutes more until the filling is set and browned and the crust is golden. Cool at least five minutes before serving.

The pie filling is fluffy and the crust light and crisp so no faulting it on texture, but I'm disappointed in the lack of a strong zucchini flavor. I would have thought the purging and pan frying would have intensified it, but no. The pie's flavor is mostly just savory eggs, feta tang and fresh herbs. Maybe the zucchini flavors blended with the herbal notes? I think it's in there somewhere. Well, I'm not being judged on my use of the ingredient so it doesn't really matter. What's important is that the results are pretty tasty any which way.


LaDivaCucina said...

Where did I see merguez sausage? I know they made them at Whole Foods in L.A. when I lived there but not sure about here. If you find some let me know, I love them!

LaDivaCucina said...

PS: I think feta is a strong flavor for the subtle flavors of a zuke so perhaps it overpowered it? I like to make Italian frittata with zuke, fried potatoes, rosemary and parm. The zucchini is subtle in that too.

billjac said...

I was surprised at just how strong the feta was. If you pick a random feta off the shelf, at least in the places I've lived, you're most likely to get something pretty wimpy. If that's what I used, the zucchini flavor would have come through better, but this was serious stuff. I hope we get some tomatoes in the next share because it would work really well in a Greek salad.

LaDivaCucina said...

Yes, different feta cheeses are definitely stronger or more mild. When I lived in Australia, we also had Bulgarian feta, which was different from the Greek feta. I find the domestic to be quite mild. I like the Vigo feta cheese, it has a nice flavor and creamy, crumbly texture (unlike those dry, woody ones that come pre-crumbled)

I got a huge tomato in the last share and don't know what to do with it (besides salad) and want to push the boundaries for the parsley this season.

LaDivaCucina said...

Bill, did you know our blogs are linked on the New Times Short order food blog? Not quite sure how that happened but I like it, I like it!

billjac said...

Yeah I knew that. They keep loose tabs on south Florida food blogs and post an occasional round-up of the latest posts. I've never gotten more than a handful of visitors through from them, but my focus on cooking isn't a great match with their readership I think. You might have better luck if you happen to have a lighter post most recent when they do a trawl through.