The hot, humid, seemingly unbearable cloud of oppressive summer weather makes us seek simple and light vegetarian dishes that use seasonal produce and minimize effort. Mostly, there are fruits, salads and chilled foods on our table these days but other than grilling, an occasional simple baked dish seems just right.
I have a penchant for vegetarian dishes made with eggs, milk and sometimes cheese, as they are nutritious, delicious, pretty quick, and adaptable to whatever you have on hand. For me, this is a technique and not a formula since I use a proportional model. This particular go-round uses non-fat lactose milk with the gorgeous eggs from a local organic farm but cream or regular milk would work. Also, the vegetables could vary widely. And you could add bread or rice to make a more substantial meal. But for me, summertime begs for simplicity …and seasonal flavor.
Summer Squash, Chard and Leek Tian
2 medium leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
Olive or vegetable oil, or butter
1 stalk green garlic or 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 yellow zucchini or summer squash, thinly sliced
1 lb chard cuttings, green part only, washed and drained (reserve stems for another use)
1-2 tbsp snipped herbs (such as dill, lovage, or parsley)
2 extra large eggs
½ c milk or cream (lactose-free and nonfat milk are fine)
Optional: ¼ c grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sauté the leeks slowly in oil or butter until tender. If using green garlic stalks (as I did), sauté them with the leeks. Otherwise, add the sliced garlic cloves at the end of the leek cooking cycle. Set aside to cool.
In the same pan, with additional oil or butter as needed, sauté the squash until lightly browned and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cook the chard in a small amount of water until tender and remove to a colander to drain. When cool, squeeze to remove excess water and chop finely.
Lightly beat the eggs, add the milk, reserved vegetables, herbs, optional cheese, and salt and pepper. Pour into a baking dish that has been buttered or oiled.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until set but not dry. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.