Sunday, April 6, 2008

Vegetarian Brunch

As much as I may have wanted to unload the Ham of God on this brunch it was a no meat party.

Last Thursday I catered a reception and they wanted mostly light food but needed a substantial dish that would be a protein but not a high calorie choice. I did a whole series of Spanish Tortas and they were delicious so with a few variations I set out on the Torta trail today.

First the base.
2 med apples peeled and sliced thin
2 med onion peeled and sliced thin
2 med potatoes NOT peeled, but sliced thin

A good splash of olive oil in a 9x13 pan and I threw them all in, hit with a touch of salt and let them roast in a 350 oven for 90 minutes stirring every 30. They get really creamy which is the texture you want. Let cool in a bow, when cool mix in one egg. Hit with a dash of Cayenne and turmeric and a little more salt. Set aside.

Then you start looking for all the cool veggies and things you have in the house to use for the topping. This recipe is open to endless. Today I measured what I used to give an idea of proportion.

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes split in half
1/2 cup black olives (oil cured, but any will do, except those awful canned and jarred ones)
1/2 cup chopped green scallions
1/2 cup roasted garlic (You can peel and simmer in olive oil until tender unless you have some in the house)
1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus (about an inch)

Beat two eggs
A few good shakes of salt
A good grind of pepper
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Sweet Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Dried Herb mix (Italian, Provence...whatever you have)

Toss in all the veggies.

Get a nice pan, I used a 9 inch spring form, but you can use a deep dish pie plate, a shallow casserole, a baking dish, whatever you have, the smaller the deeper the Torta the longer you bake, more shallow thinner and cooks faster. Cut parchment paper in the shape of the pan. It's next to the foil in the grocery store and if you don't have some, get some. Nothing sticks when you use parchment and clean up is a snap.

Rub the parchment with a little olive oil and toss in the egg, apple, onion, egg mixture. Top with the veggie mixture. Throw in the 375 oven. I baked it alongside a bread for 40 minutes. The top should be set. I tend to serve it on the creamy side but if you don't like your eggs to be too custardy, bake a little longer.

Serve cut in pie shaped wedges.

This blows quiche and omelet out of the water when it comes to taste elements. It was served alongside bowls of strawberries, thick sheep's mile yogurt, hummus, olive tapenade, and a multi grain flat bread.


Just said...

You measured? Who could believe *that*!

Sam said...

totally delicious and easy finger food! so important at schmoozie events where you're running to after work, you're starving, but want to make a good impression and not seem like a pig!

M said...

Tis the season to try and recover my lost waist... This seems like a delightful way to get on track. I can't wait to try it out!

Chef...Karl Wilder said...

As a voracious eater of high fat (tiny portion) food I will be aware of the lower calorie ideas.

The torta has so many vegetables and so little egg the calorie content is pretty minimal.