Here's a recipe for a cheesy spinach tart from restaurateur Claus Meyer's personal family files. This spring, Meyer — who is best known for co-founding the celebrated restaurant noma in Copenhagen with chef René Redzepi — published a book, his first in English. The Nordic Kitchen: One Year of Family Cooking comprises 350 recipes that Meyer regularly makes at home. More than a recipe diary, it's an accessible view into everyday Nordic cooking. A focus on hearty whole grains, leafy greens, fresh dairy, as well as fresh produce make it ideal for anyone who hopes to understand the methodology of Nordic cuisine outside of the fine dining sphere.
For his spinach tart, Meyer makes a whole grain crust out of three different types of flour. If you only have all-purpose, that will do too. The filling calls for cottage cheese, but ricotta will work just as well. And if you don't have woodruff, chervil, and sweet cicely — herbs that can be tricky to find in American grocery stores — parsley, thyme, or chives will make fine substitutes. Enjoy it for brunch this weekend, or chill it and have a slice for breakfast each day next week.
3⁄4 cup Öland or organic whole grain wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
1⁄2 cup oat flour
1⁄2 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1∕3 cup standard canola oil, plus extra
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
1 1⁄2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup lowfat milk
3 organic eggs
3 gratings of nutmeg
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons butter
1 lb 2 oz fresh spinach leaves, washed and drained
1∕3 cup grated hard cheese
1 handful of fresh herbs, such as sweet woodruff, chervil, and sweet cicely
a few drops of apple cider vinegar
a few drops of cold-pressed canola oil
First make the pastry. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to make a dough. Seal the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Mix the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper together in a bowl to a smooth paste. Melt the butter in a saucepan and briefly sauté the spinach, just until it starts to collapse and release its liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the spinach to a sieve and strain off the liquid.
Roll the pastry dough out into a thin layer on a floured work surface, then transfer it to a tart pan 1 1⁄4 inches deep with a diameter of 9 1⁄2 to 10 1⁄2 inches, and greased with canola oil.
Press the dough firmly into the dish and trim the excess dough from around the edge.
Put the drained spinach into the pastry crust and cover with the cottage cheese mixture.
Peel and slice the shallot into very thin rings, then spread over the top.
Lastly, scatter the grated cheese evenly over the tart.
Bake the tart on the bottom rack of a preheated oven at 325 to 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes until the filling has set. The tart should be light golden on the top and the pastry crust baked through.
Just before serving, peel and cut the other shallot into thin rings, then toss with the freshly torn herbs in the vinegar and canola oil, just to give them a bit of shine. Arrange the shallot and herb mixture on top of the tart and serve warm.
If you want more greenery, serve with a small salad on the side. You can also choose to make the tart a day ahead and serve it cold for lunch or as an accompaniment to a main course.
Reprinted with permission from: The Nordic Kitchen by Claus Meyer, Mitchell Beazley 2016; Photo: Anders Schonnemann