Spinach and spring herb torta in a potato crust

Spinach and herb torta in potato crustWhat’s eating your crops? Do you have a slug problem? Do you hate cabbage worms making holes in the leaves of your brassica? Carrot fly? Birds?

In our organic, very diverse garden, pests are usually not a huge problem. But our new allotment is surrounded by overgrown allotments-turned-forest where rabbits reside. And they apparently come out as soon as we leave and munch on our crops. They do not eat everything (fortunately!), they seem pickier than a toddler. From my research of rabbits’ preferred crops I can inform you that the local rabbits are partial to: chives, mint, garlic, strawberry leaves, pea shoots, broccoli and kohlrabi. I’m sure they would eat all our lettuce as well, were it not protected by plant covers. Interestingly though, they don’t care for spinach. washing spinach

I do care for spinach, especially this early season bright green, crunchy stuff. I pick it a lot, knowing it’s season is short and it will bolt as soon as the weather gets warm.

Last Sunday I made this savory tart filled to the brim with spring harvest: spinach and herbs, fresh eggs with bright orange yolks. But it’s the crust that makes it really special: no pie dough but thin potato slices cooked in oil first and than decoratively arranged in the spring form. It’s almost like lining the form with potato chips (though healthier!) and even my son who, let’s be honest here, is no fan of spinach, ate a full quarter of this tart. potato slices potato crust

I made little changes to the filling, adding more herbs and using chives instead of scallions. I also simplified the process a little, just adding the chopped herbs to the filling instead of wilting them first in a pan with oil. The crust was far easier to make than I anticipated, more laborius then this super fast spinach tart but probably easier than rolling out a dough and prebaking. Spinach and herb torta in potato crust The amount of spinach is what I picked from the garden on the given day, a bit more or less is no problem and same goes for the herbs. As anyone cooking from the garden, I cook what I pick, in the amounts available. Unlike in baking, in cooking you can usually adjust the quantities. Spinach and herb torta in potato crust

One year ago: Spinach, citrus and feta salad and Braided bread rolls

Spinach and spring herb torta in potato crust
Adapted from Deborah Madison: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Revised

3 large russet potatoes (about 600 g, 1 ¼ pound)
about 2 tbsp olive oil
350 g spinach (about a colander full, stems removed if the leaves are big)
2 eggs
1 cup ricotta
1 1/2 cups chopped spring herbs: parsley, chives, dill
100 g feta, crumbled
grated zest of 1 lemon
salt, pepper

Peel the potatoes. Slice two of them crosswise into rounds about 3-4 mm (1/8 inch) thick.

Slice the third potato lengthwise, also 3-4 mm thick. Brush some olive oil in a wide skillet and set over high heat. Whet it’s hot, reduce the heat to medium and place a layer of potato slices in the skillet. Fry on both sides until golden and tender when pierced with a knife. Remove to a paper towel and repeat with the rest of the potato slices.

Add the spinach to the same pan with the water clinging to its leaves (or add a little water if dry). Cook until wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and press out any excess water. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and ricotta. Add herbs, feta and lemon zest.

Roughly chop the spinach and add it to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 185 degrees Celsius (375 F). Lightly butter a 24 cm (9 ½ inch) spring form pan. Line the bottom of the pan with the round potato slices, overlapping where necessary to cover the bottom completely. Place the long slices around the sides. Pour in the ricotta mixture and put in the oven. Bake until firm and golden in places, about 40 minutes. Gently ease a knife between he edge of the pan and the potatoes. Release the spring and carefully remove the sides of the pan, Serve warm or at room temperature.

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19 comments for “Spinach and spring herb torta in a potato crust

  1. Abbie
    13/08/2014 at 20:10

    Can the torta be frozen and baked at a later time? This looks like a great thing to bring to the cabin but I’d love to make it beforehand!

    • vera@gtc
      14/08/2014 at 09:29

      Hi Abbie, I have not tried this myself, but I think a good way to go about it would be to prepare the filling and the crust separately (fry the potato slices and line the pan with them) and then combine them when you want to bake them later. Or maybe make and bake the torta, freeze it and then reheat it? I’m sorry, I’m not an expert because I don’t have a freezer. In any case if you try that, I would love to hear how it went!

  2. 13/05/2014 at 23:06

    Oh, this looks so delicious, Vera, I will definitely give it a try! Love the idea with the potatos and we have so much goutweed growing here, I could use half-half with the spinach. As for the herbs, some of the ramsons haven’t started to bloom yet in the shadier spots of our garden, it would give the tart a extra touch, I think (and I would save the classic spinach/ herb combination for later this summer).

    Thank you so much for the inspiration!

    • vera@gtc
      14/05/2014 at 15:41

      Juliane, I think you can definitely vary the greens and herbs you use in the torta according to the season- it will always be edelicious :-)

  3. sarah
    26/03/2014 at 04:27

    Absolutely love the idea for this potatoe crust (and will absolutely be trying it out on other fruits and veggies now!).

    xx Sarah
    http://www.losergirlwins.com

  4. 14/03/2014 at 16:36

    This is an amazing idea! I can’t wait to try with sweet potatoes. I love your blog and very inspired by your gardening stories. Thanks for sharing

    • vera@gtc
      15/03/2014 at 11:33

      Thank you Shannon! Lovely to hear!

  5. CB
    06/02/2014 at 19:29

    Great spinach pie! The second time I baked the potatoes in the ring form pie, before adding the filling. It came out perfect and saved time!

    • vera@gtc
      07/02/2014 at 10:32

      Thank you for the tip! I will try that, too, it would save time indeed!

  6. 13/01/2014 at 22:34

    This looks so pretty! I love the layers of potato, and I bet it would taste great too. Thanks!

    • vera@gtc
      15/01/2014 at 10:33

      I hopeyou try it – it is really worth it!

  7. 10/12/2013 at 03:33

    I love the idea!

  8. 06/06/2013 at 15:39

    This tart is so delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. 29/05/2013 at 14:06

    I like the sound of the potato crust!

  10. 29/05/2013 at 07:09

    Looks delicious! The potato crust is really nice, something like pommes Anna

    • vera@gtc
      29/05/2013 at 09:59

      Yes! Will have to make pommes anna soon, too…

  11. 28/05/2013 at 09:30

    Your potato crust is genius, what a pretty torta!

    • vera@gtc
      29/05/2013 at 09:57

      Pretty & delicious – what more can we ask? :-)

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