It's the weekend and my dog Popsi wakes me up early just like on any other day of the week. I get up, let her out and follow her into the backyard. As I soon as I set foot on the lawn she brings me her tennis ball to fetch a few times. Even though my eyes are still not completely open and every ray of light bothers me, I comply. Twenty fetches in I realize that I'm hungry. Starving. I need something that is hearty and satisfying, but not breakfast tacos because I had that yesterday. I'm too lazy to get dressed and go somewhere to grab a bite, so I decide to take a look at what's in the fridge.
I open it and see the usual suspects: eggs, cheese and milk. I look at the shelf below and I see a big tupperware with leftover brisket from my girlfriend's family's passover dinner the night before. It was delicious, but I can't have that for breakfast. I'm not a barbarian.
I move on and look into the veggie box that was delivered to us by our a local CSA, Johnson's Backyard Garden. The first thing that catches my attention is a big leafy bunch of greens: collard greens according to the label. I go on an investigation to find out what exactly they are and what they are called in Romanian or Hungarian. After all, how am I going to tell my parents what I cooked when we meet on Skype at noon?
I can't find how they translate, but I discover that collard greens are in the same family as cabbage and broccoli. Here in the south they are traditionally cooked with bacon and garlic, so I decide to saute them with shallots and garlic then add some of that brisket and finish it up with eggs and cheese. I don't want it to be loose and jiggly like the french omelette nor do I want it to be fluffy like an Italian frittata. Instead I want something dense, like a cake. So I took the Spanish Tortilla approach.
I used brisket, but you can use whatever you'd like. Do you have leftover steak or pork chops from last night's dinner? Put it in there. Mushrooms? No problem. You aren't from the South and you hate collard greens? Replace them with spinach or potatoes. Play with the flavors. After all it's hard to mess up anything with eggs.
Collard Greens and Brisket Spanish Tortilla
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- 1 TBS unsalted butter
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, finely chopped (or 1 medium yellow onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 large bunch collard greens, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup beef stock (or water)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 pound brisket, chopped
- 8 eggs (pasture raised)
- 1 cup Manchego cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup whole milk (or cream)
- salt, to taste
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- green onions or chives, to garnish
- sour cream (or crème fraîche), optional
- Start by heating up the oven to 375F (190C) degrees. By the time you're done with the preparation the oven should be at an ideal temperature.
- In a large oven proof skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add shallots and saute for about 5 minutes until they become golden brown. Add garlic and stir for another 2 minutes. Make sure you don't burn the garlic, as it becomes bitter.
- Add collard greens and stock to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes until the greens are almost wilted. You don't want to overcook the greens so don't worry if they don't look entirely cooked.
- Add the brisket, black pepper and salt to taste and cook for 5 more minutes. Taste the brisket before using it to get familiar with its saltiness.
- In the meantime, in a large bowl beat the eggs until they become light yellow and foamy. Mix in the milk or cream, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and the grated cheese.
- Reduce heat under the collard greens and brisket to medium. Pour the egg mix into the skillet and flatten out the top. Cook until the sides are set, about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to occasionally loosen the eggs from the edges of the pan.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and let it cook until the top becomes golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
- Sprinkle green onions and sweet paprika all over it. You can top it with a dollop of sour cream for an Eastern European touch.
- Serve in the skillet or slide the tortilla on a plate.