Beet Days of Our Lives: A Bleeding Tart

Beet Leaves

Beets and I are becoming good friends again. For Day 2 of Beet Days of Our Lives, I’m riffing on a tart I wrote about four years ago. The first time I made it, I substituted beet stems and leaves for the swiss chard, which turned out to be a brilliant decision: beet leaves have seven times more antioxidants than romaine lettuce and are on par with kale in terms of overall nutritive value. This time I’m using a different crust, because we are now a somewhat gluten-free household. It’s still a one-dish dinner, and it’s still on the pink side.

Torta Rustica Pinkita with Gluten-Free Crust
inspired by Provençal Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart with Whole Wheat Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry, by Martha Rose Shulman

Serves at least 6

1 gluten-free crust*
1 pound beet leaves with stems, washed; stems cut in small dice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 pounds zucchini, cut in small dice (1/4 to 1/3 inch)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
2 ounces Gouda cheese, grated
3 large eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Put an inch of water in a large pot and bring to boil. Add the beet leaves and steam until just tender, from 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain. Squeeze out any excess water and chop. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet, and add the onion and beet stems. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. (Thanks to the beet stems, your ingredients will have a pink hue. My advice is to just own it.) Add garlic and dill, and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the beet leaves, stir everything together, and remove from the heat.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the zucchini mixture and Gouda. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 10-inch skillet that can go in the oven (I use a cast-iron pan). Roll out the dough so it lines the pan, with the edges of the dough overhanging. Add the mixture, turn over the dough edges in as rustic a way as possible and sent to the oven for about an hour, or until set and beginning to brown. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. It tastes even better the next day, served at room temperature.

*Gluten-Free Crust
adapted from Baking, From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

As a gluten-free kitchen, we have lots of different flours and starches that we use to replace gluten flours. But if you’re just starting out or dabbling in gluten-free, buy a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix. I recommend Cup4Cup or Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend. If you want to make your own, go to Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef for instructions.

Makes 1 crust

1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (white is fine, too)
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons very cold aroma-free coconut oil (butter is fine, too; I prefer coconut oil, but that’s a whole other post), cut into tablespoon-size pieces; put in the freezer after you prep
⅓ cup very cold non-hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance); put in freezer after you prep
About 1/4 cup ice water

1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined (2-3 pulses’ll do it).

2. Add the coconut oil and shortening and pulse only till the oil and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo it; you want the mixture to be about the size of cottage cheese curds.

3. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over the mixture, then pulse a few long times. You want a dough that will stick together when pinched, so use more water if you need to. Big pieces of coconut oil are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.

4. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling (or up to 5 days).

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