Oyster pie with cavolo nero
( SERVES 4 )
A member of the cabbage family, cavolo nero is a vegetable we are seeing more of at local organic stores. With its long, wrinkly blue-green leaves, cavolo nero has an earthy sweetness and an iodine-like bite, which is why I include it with oysters, but any leafy cabbage - either savoury or kale - will do, as will leaf spinach.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Blanch the cavolo nero in boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain, making sure it is as dry as possible. Chop the leaves coarsely.
- Roll out just over half the pastry to line the bottom and sides of a 23cm non-stick cake tin.
- In a large, deep frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp - about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and roughly chop it into small pieces.
- Return the pan to the stove, add the butter and allow it to melt. Chop the onion finely, then add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and bay leaf, then cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour and stir over a medium heat for 4 minutes to make a roux.
- Pour in the cream and milk, then bring to a simmer, stirring continuously until it has thickened slightly. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.
- Pour the sauce into the pastry-lined tin, then scatter over the cavolo nero, oysters, bacon and parsley.
- Roll out the remaining pastry and lay it over the filling, pinching the edges to seal tightly. Cut a hole in the centre to let the steam out as it cooks.
- Decorate with leftover pastry, then bake in the preheated oven until the pastry is golden brown - about 25-30 minutes. Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving.