I have recently been admiring those French savory cakes, and especially the cauliflower one Ottolenghi did and, which Deb of Smitten Kitchen adapted, hers with added black sesame seeds on the sides. The guy who does the ordering at our grocery says there is some sort of disease affecting those seeds, so no supply for the time being. And, I did like the way it looked. Pooh. Perhaps poppy seeds would work. Also, the cauliflower here hasn't been all that appealing. So......... what I had was left-over, spicy roasted pumpkin, which would normally go right into a Pumpkin Curry Soup. But hey, we've been there and done that enough times to have a yen for something different.
You may have been hearing good things lately about Ottolenghi, London restaurant owner, author of the cutting edge cookbook, Plenty, and Guardian columnist. I tried a few of his very creative dishes when the Guardian did a special feature about his book, including numerous recipes. One was an awesome salad of fried white beans, sorrel and feta, which I should do again and post about.
This savory sort of cake is, apparently a traditional French thing, a crustless variation on the quiche. We Americans are more used to the Impossible Pie Bisquick version, at least those of us old enough to remember when we, or our mothers made them, back in the day.
Roasted Pumpkin Feta Cake
4-5 eggs (this depends upon how many extra vegetables, etc. you are adding)
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon table salt)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk, buttermilk or yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
Add your vegetables:
2 cups roasted pumpkin, chopped (I put mine on the bottom of the casserole, but will mix in next time)
8 ounce container of feta, crumbled
4 ounces of smoked mozzarella or cheddar
1 shallot sliced thin, and sauteed with the bacon
1/2 cup chopped Canadian bacon (optional - but it's very yummy)
In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients and then add them to the wet ingredients:
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
For this version, it being pumpkin, I added:
1 teaspoon fennel pollen
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon wattleseed, ground
Pour batter into a greased spring-form pan and bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, if using a round pan, maybe up to 40 minutes if using a loaf pan. Cake should be browned and set.
1. For variations, just substitute other vegetables, such as cauliflower, roasted red peppers, herbs or spices, cheeses, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or what have you. The slivers of red onion Ottolenghi and Deb place on top are nice too.
2. I did not use the spring-form pan. For reasons unknown, and regretted it the moment the batter was put into my casserole dish, despite how nice it looks. Next time I would also do the black sesame seeds, or poppy seeds (as long as no one has to pass a drug test next morning). Finally, I will mix in all the vegetables with the batter. Both things would contribute to the color and appearance of the cake, as well as to enable cutting, instead of scooping.
Sort of an experiment, though as it is, the taste was excellent. I loved how those spices played up the roasted pumpkin flavor. A very comforting, and savory Fall dish. Just serve with a nice salad. Perhaps a crust of bread, and glass of Pinot Grigio.