Spring came, briefly, to Boston this weekend.  The snow melted off the sunniest corner of the yard and up popped a dozen tiny, yellow crocuses.  A neighbor gave us half a packet of carrot seeds after starting hers in little cups on her window sill.   The kids spent two hours at the park and came home with warm cheeks and hair that smelled like sunshine.  I went to the farm store, without my jacket, and returned with an armload of green things.

A savory pie dense with hearty greens and onions is a fitting dish for ushering out winter.  You can use any greens you like (I chose turnips this weekend) and substitute spring onions for leeks, when you can find them.  A traditional, flaky pastry will work here, but I think a lighter, leaner, whole wheat crust balances the rich filling nicely.

Greens and gruyere tart

Yield:  1 10-inch tart or pie, serving 4-6

For crust:

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

3 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 c. water

For filling:

2 1/2 lbs. (2-3 bunches) greens, such as swiss chard, turnip or beet greens, or kale, stemmed, washed, and drained

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 large leeks or 2 lbs. spring onions, white and light green parts only, washed and chopped

1/2 c. milk

2 oz. gruyere cheese, grated

1 oz. parmesan cheese, grated

3 eggs

Make crust:

In a large mixing bowl,  combine flours, salt, and baking powder.  Make a well in the center and pour in oil and water.  Stir with a wooden spoon until dough comes together into a shaggy ball.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured counter and knead until just smooth, about a minute.  Divide into two balls, flatten each ball into a circle, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate 15 minutes.  (This recipe makes two 10-inch crusts — you can freeze the half you’re not using at this point.)

Roll out dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Fit dough into a tart or pie pan.  Trim off or fold in excess to form a neat shell.  (You can refrigerate or freeze the formed dough in its pan, if you like.)

Blind bake the crust:  Cut a square of parchment a little bigger than your pan and press it gently on top of the crust.  Weigh down the crust (a pound of dried beans or raw rice works well for this) and bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Remove weights and paper and set crust aside.

Make filling:

Cook the greens in a large pot of boiling, salted water until tender.  This will take anywhere from 4 minutes (for more tender greens, like chard) to 20 minutes (for tougher greens, like turnip or collards).  To check for doneness, pull out a piece, let it cool a bit, and taste it — if it’s hard to chew, it’s not ready.  When done, drain greens and transfer to a large bowl of cold water.  When cool, squeeze greens tightly in small handfuls to wring out as much water as possible, then coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Warm a saucepan over medium heat, drizzle in oil, then add leeks.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes.  Remove from heat, add greens to pan, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Beat together eggs and milk.  Fold in greens and leeks, then cheeses.  Pour filling into pre-baked crust and bake 30-40 minutes, or until firm and beginning to brown on top.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, or freeze for up to a month.

Notes: Leeks can be very sandy, so clean them thoroughly.  I find the easiest way to do this is to trim off the dark greens and most of the roots, split the leek in half lengthwise to within 1/4-inch of the tip of the bulb, then run the leek, holding it root-end up and gently teasing apart the layers, under cool water until all the grit is washed off.  Then shake the leek dry and cut it crosswise into short, thin ribbons.

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