spring vegetable timbale

Kind of a huge frittata. Without the delicate (and too often messy!) flipping-over part!

spring vegetable timbale

1 large leek (white part) or 1 onion
butter for cooking
1/4 cup wine

1/2 mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup asparagus tips + thinly sliced stems
1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/2 bunch spinach (about 1 cup) (table.etc: collard greens)

1 1/4 cups milk or light cream
3 tbs butter
5 tbs breadcrumbs, made from white bread
5 eggs
1/2 ts salt
white pepper
1 cup grated cheese, Gruyere or fontina (table.etc: Parmesan cheese)

1. Slice, then dice the white part of the leek. Wash the pieces well to rid them of sand and then dry as you would lettuce. Cook slowly in butter until soft. The white wine can be addede while the leeks are cooking, and reduced.

2. Remove the leeks, add another dollop of butter, and cook the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper on low heat until they are soft.

3. Blanch the peas + asparagus + carrots in boiling water until they are barely cooked - still somewhat firm. Drain in a strainer set over a pot to save the cooking liquid. Rinse the vegetables in cold water to stop the cooking. Allow to drain, or dry with a towel.

4. Remove the stems from the spinach, cut the leaves into narrow strips, and blanch them briefly in the boiling salted water. Rinse in cool water and set aside to drain, squeezing most of the moisture out with your hands. The cooking liquid and the juices from the spinach can be saved for stock or soup.

5. Prepare the loaf pan (9inch) by buttering liberally and then lining with breadcrumbs (which are great, but not essential).

6. Heat the milk or cream with the butter until it is melted and the milk is quite warm. Beat the eggs with the salt and a touch of white pepper and gradually whisk in the milk. Add the vegetables and cheese and any remaining breadcrumbs. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

7. Pour into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger baking pan with 1-2 inches of near-boiling water. (You can put the pans in the oven and then pour the water in.) Bake at 325F for 50-60 minutes or until the  timbale is firm and golden on top. Let rest a few minutes before removing from the pan. Place whole on a serving platter with sauce (sorrel sauce or vegetable bechamel)* over and/or under. Or slice before serving, put down the sauce first and the slices on top so the colors show.

* table.etc: proceed as you'd do for a "regular" bechamel, but with these ingredients instead: 4 tbs olive oil + 4 tbs chickpeas flour + 300 ml vegetables cooking water

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