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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pot Herb Pie--A Spring Tonic

Nicholas Bonnefons recommend a wide variety of greens for pies: spinach, which he deemed to be excellent, orache, chicory, white beet or Swiss chard and finally a small amount of sorrel and purslane to heighten the flavor. In 1615, Champlain planted cabbages, white beets and other necessary herbs in Nouvelle France.

Pot Herb Pie
1 pound of mixed greens (dandelions would be good, as well)
2 eggs
1 pint bechamel (white sauce)
nutmeg
salt and pepper
lemon zeste
icing sugar and rose water--a sprinkle of each

Remove stems from greens. Boil in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain, chop and squeeze dry. Make bechamel by stirring milk into a roux of butter and flour--grate in nutmeg and lemon zeste. Simmer until thick. Beat eggs and stir in greens. Add to bechamel. Pour into pie shell of fine pastry. Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of rose water. Bake in a moderate oven. Remove from oven and allow to set for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.
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Recipe adapted from A Taste of History, the Origins of Québec's Gastronomy. Marc Lafrance & Yvon Desloges, Les Éditions de la Chenelière inc., Québec, 1989, p. 19

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