December 23, 2013 by Meg G.
Until recently, I had never used (let alone owned) a springform pan. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no – I have never made a cheesecake. (Gasp!) Let’s blame that one on my dear friend and former roomie, Melannie, who is the best cheesecake maker I know. (Ahem, remember that time you said you’d do a guest post…?)
I happened to mention this detail in front of Heather’s family last year and a springform pan suddenly materialized beneath the Christmas tree! I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that it took us about 10 months to break it in, but apparently it’s confession time. While I’m at it, I guess I should mention that I hate mushrooms and olives, I have an irrational fear of overflowing toilets, and I “illegally” used my employee ID card to ride the bus for free for a whopping three years. Whew! That feels better.
We made this recipe back in the fall, when we we were weaning ourselves off of our CSA. It’s a great cold-weather dish for those who like to shop local, since you can usually source potatoes and scallions (or some onion family substitute) at the farmer’s market and you can often find greenhouse-grown spinach and herbs. And if all that green sounds too healthy…cheese to the rescue!
Spinach and Herb Torta with Potato Crust – adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
- 3 large russet potatoes, about 1 1/4 pounds, peeled and sliced thinly (about 1/8 inch)
- about 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch scallions, including the greens, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill (we used 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1/2 cup parsley (we only used about 2 tablespoons dried)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 bunches spinach, leaves only, coarsely chopped (we used about 12 oz)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta to taste
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and set it on a sheet pan. Set aside.
- Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide skillet and set over high heat. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium. Cook as many potatoes as you can fit in a single layer until golden on both sides and tender when pierced with a knife. Repeat until all are done, removing them to a paper towel as they finish cooking.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the scallions, dill, parsley and cilantro and cook over medium heat until the scallions are begin to wilt and turn bright green, just about 4 minutes. Season with salt and remove to a bowl.
- Add the spinach to the same pan, with the water clinging to the leaves. Cook over high heat until the leaves are wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and press out any excess water. Add the spinach to the scallions and combine. Next, add the beaten eggs, cheeses, and lemon zest and stir well.
- Fill the bottom of the prepared springform pan with the potato rounds, overlapping when necessary to cover the bottom. Pour in the spinach mixture and bake immediately until firm and golden, about 40 minutes. Gently ease a knife between the edge of the pan and the potatoes. Release the spring and carefully lift off the side. Serve immediately.
Just look at that crispy, cheesy edge!
While this recipe requires a few different steps, it is still a relatively simple dish. Its hearty potato-cheese-egg combination would work well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And the lemon zest and cilantro will keep your taste buds awake and happy! We polished this little guy off in just a few days.
So, inquiring minds want to know: what’s your best
confession springform pan recipe?