Here’s a simple solution for an easy stylish entree when you may have little more than a fresh vegetable and a few basic staples like eggs, flour, and milk.
No, it’s not a quiche. If you have had a Toad in the Hole, the famed Brit treatment for sausage baked in a popover-like shell; or a Dutch Baby, where fruit is cooked in a heavy skillet then covered with a light batter and baked in a hot oven until puffy; then you get the idea.
It is shades of clafoutis, that wonderful French dessert featuring cherries, plums or other seasonal fruit, nestled in a crepe-like batter and baked until light. Although it deflates as it cools, it still retains enough puffiness around the edges to form a shell to hold the dense egg-bound interior.
In this case, I collected a savory assortment of vegetables including a few mushrooms, a leek, and a lovely small head of lacinato kale. Also known as black kale, it is not as tough as many varieties, slightly sweet and has a pronounced earthy flavor.
But it doesn’t matter; the idea is to round up enough produce to yield about 4 cups when lightly cooked. If you happen to have a lovely bunch of kale worthy of showcasing, that’s great, too. Ham, prosciutto, or other cured meat also makes a nice addition.
The trick is to begin by roasting onion slices in a hot oven until they take on color. The hot dish is removed from the oven and the prepared vegetables are immediately layered on top, the batter is poured evenly over the top and it is returned to the hot oven. This technique causes the batter to quickly rise in the hot oven and continue to expand until golden brown and puffed. I like finishing the top with a grating of Parmesan cheese.
For those who have tried only fruit clafoutis, a vegetable variation may be difficult to imagine. There is an unexpected intensity that occurs from suspending and enveloping the savory additions in their creamy crepe interior, and definitely worth trying. It’s one my Breakfast All Day favorites―just as worthy of a leisurely brunch as a mid-week meal. Enjoy hot or room temperature and refrigerate the rest; it reheats beautifully for a light lunch or snack.
Savory Clafoutis with Kale and Mushrooms
Crepe bound veggies laced with prosciutto and baked until puffed and golden brown
1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small leek, cleaned well; white and tender green sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ cup prosciutto, sliced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper
1 tsp each fresh rosemary and thyme or ½ tsp dried
½ tsp dried fennel
3 cups lacinato kale, approximate; stemmed, cut into large chop
1 white onion, peeled, halved and sliced vertically
¾ cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- For the Vegetable-Prosciutto Medley: Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in sauté pan over medium, add the leek and stir occasionally until it begins to soften, 5 to 8 minutes; add the garlic and the prosciutto and toss occasionally stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, herbs and fennel and cook until most of the liquid has been release, 5 to10 minutes. Add the kale, stirring until it begins to wilt and remove pan from heat.
- Meanwhile rub a pie plate or other similar ovenproof dish with a little of the olive oil. Add the sliced onions, drizzle with olive oil and distribute them evenly in bottom of dish. Bake in 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until they begin to take on color.
- Meanwhile prepare the batter: combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and make a well in the center. Combine the beaten eggs and milk and pour into the flour mixture, beat until well blended.
- Remove the onion from the oven and cover with the vegetable mixture. While still hot, quickly pour in the egg batter and return to oven. In about 15 minutes rotate the pie plate to brown evenly and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake a total of 20- 25 minutes, until golden and puffy.
- Serve immediately, while fully raised. It will deflate somewhat but still remain puffy. It is also good served at room temperature. Serves 6