When I made a version of Stephanie Alexander’s Crustless Silverbeet, Pine Nut & Olive ‘Tart’ for a friend recently, she recognised it instantly as a picnic favourite that her friend calls Impossible Pie. I have no idea what makes it so impossible, except the fact it’s basically a robust, chunky quiche without the pastry, which I guess leads to the cutseypie moniker. Whatever the reason, Impossible Pie has stuck in our house, and it’s become a weekend lunch staple that easily feeds a gang of eight.
The original recipe is from this book here, which I still love to death. Stephanie’s version is entirely vegetarian, and very good too, but for omnivores I have usually added a handful of chopped bacon or pancetta (for as the Empress is fond of saying, “there’s nothing in life that can’t be improved by bacon”). And I think next time I might sling in a few chopped anchovies too.
Speaking of vegetarians, I’ve been having a little Twitter discussion on the topic lately so look out soon for a post on how to make a vegetarian happy. And I’ve decided that as much as possible, from now on I’m including veg options for any recipes here, using this little green V symbol at the end.
Silverbeet Impossible Pie
- 1 sizable bunch silverbeet
- olive oil
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons chopped bacon / pancetta
- 3 tablespoons currants
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 12 black olives, pitted & roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon rinsed capers
- 5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 4 eggs
- 200g natural yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- a little butter
1. Wash silverbeet & separate stems & leaves.
2. Chop leaves into strips and stems into 1cm chunks.
3. Throw stems into simmering water for 2 mins, followed by the leaves for another 2 mins. Drain and cool under cold running water for a few minutes. Dry in a tea towel or salad spinner.
4. While silverbeet is blanching, toast pine nuts in a little oil until golden brown, then remove and toss into a large mixing bowl.
5. Saute onion and garlic with bacon or pancetta for a few minutes until bacon is crisp and vegetables are soft.
6. Pulse silverbeet a couple of times in a food processor to roughly chop a little more, then add to bacon mix and fry for a few more minutes.
7. Add the vegetables & bacon to the pine nuts in the large bowl, then add currants, olives and 4 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs. Season and leave to cool.
8. In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and yoghurt together till well mixed, then add to silverbeet mix.
9. Lightly grease a glass or ceramic pie dish and coat the sides and base with the remaining tablespoon of breadcrumbs (add any leftovers to the mix), then plonk the vegetable mix in, top with the grated Parmesan and a few dots of butter.
10. Bake the tart in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes or until it feels firm and the top is crisp. Serve warm or cold with a green salad.
V: Just leave out the bacon