Very green, very healthy. But with a strong flavour, amped up with sharp lemon and tangy capers, smoothed out with ricotta and nutmeg. The pastry is very easy to stir together and roll out, much more so than the more usual indulgently buttery crust.
Serve with soft bread and a salad of green leaves, avocadoes and pears to emphasise the virtuous greenery. Follow with a ridiculously rich dessert to avoid smug health-freak syndrome.
Spinach and ricotta tart with olive oil crust
(pastry recipe borrowed from the lovely Chocolate and Zucchini)
makes 6 large slices
500g frozen spinach
1 clove garlic
50g grated parmesan
1/2 lemon – zest and juice
2 tbsp chopped capers
2tbsp chopped thyme
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
250g flour (half white and half wholemeal)
1tsp dried rosemary
60ml olive oil
Make the crust: Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the olive oil and stir roughly with a fork. Add the water and stir some more. When the mixture just starts to come together, use your hands to gently push it into a ball. Do not knead it too much. Sprinkle some flour over the countertop and your rolling pin (or wine bottle) and roll out into a rough circle – about 35cm diameter. Gently lift the pastry into a large tart tin and push it into the corners and up the edges. (Keep any spare dough in case of cracks.) Stab the base a few times with a fork to stop the pastry puffing up in the oven. Put the tin in the fridge for half an hour then bake it blind (empty) for 10 minutes at 200°C.
Make the filling: Heat a little olive oil with the garlic clove in a large frying pan. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the frozen spinach, cover and cook until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Leave to cool then add the ricotta, egg, parmesan and all the vaarious condiments (everything except the oats). Taste the mixture: it should be bright and punchy. Add more salt, lemon or nutmeg if needed.
Make tart: Take your prebaked crust and fill any cracks with leftover dough. Sprinkle the oats over the bottom; this will absorb excess liquid. Tip in the spinach mixture, smooth out and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 180°C.