Judging by end-of-day swap-box contents, kohlrabi—especially the giant Kossaks we see in the colder months—is in the running for our site’s least-loved (most-feared?) CSA item.
Even in high July, after zucchini fatigue has set in, we rarely see a uniform swap box at closing time. But last Tuesday, after all the first-week Winter Season shares had been fetched, we were left with five Clincher®-sized kohlrabies. That’s it. Five. Weighing at least a couple pounds each.
You didn’t expect me to just leave them there in the back warehouse, did you? Of course not. I grabbed three and started thinking about new ways to put these homely brassicae to work.
Over my CSA lifetime, I’ve enjoyed raw kohlrabi, shaved or shredded into a salad or slaw); roasted and mashed kohlrabi, either alone or stirred together with cauliflower or carrots or potatoes; and roasted batons of kohlrabi, meant to mimic French fries. I had not, though, ever baked it into a pie.
Now I have. And I will do so again.
A riff on good, ol’ Greek Spinach Pie, with a hat tip to the Times’ Martha Rose Shulman. Her recipe calls for all kohlrabi; I used a mix of kohlrabi and fresh spinach and added scallions, a little nutmeg, and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Serves 8-10. Freezes well, too. In fact, I split the batch in half and tucked one of the unbaked pans away for later.
- 4 cups shredded kohlrabi
- 4 cups well-packed fresh spinach (could use frozen, just be sure to wring it dry)
- 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4-5 scallions, sliced thin
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 6 oz crumbled feta cheese
- juice of 1 small lemon
- a few grinds of fresh nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 pound phyllo dough (if using frozen dough, follow the package’s instructions to thaw)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
A note on prep: I’m too short to get much leverage on big, dense, monster veggies like kohlrabies, rutabagas, and harder squashes, so when I “peel” them, I tend to chip away, planing off the outer layers in 2-3″ chunks. The resultant globe—with Buckminster Fuller facets—is ready for further slicing or grating.
In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and scallion for 5-6 minutes, until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and kohlrabi. Season with a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring frequently for 10-12 minutes, adding the spinach at about the 8-minute mark. The greens should be nicely wilted (but not completely broken down), and the kohlrabi should be starting to deepen in color. Stir in the nutmeg, dill, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Combine the remaining olive oil with the melted butter. Prep your pan(s) by brushing them with a light coating of the oil/butter mixture. I used two 5″x7″ Pyrex dishes, but a 10″ square, a deep pie plate, or a tart pan work great, too.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl large enough to eventually hold all the veggies. Stir in the cheese and lemon juice, then add the kohlrabi-spinach mixture. Set the bowl aside while you deal with the phyllo.
Working quickly (and one pan at a time), line the bottom of the pan with a sheet of phyllo (trim it if you need to, but be sure to leave a couple inches draped over the edges of the pan. Brush the layer with the oil/butter, rotate the pan, add another sheet, brush it, and so on. I used 6 layers for the bottom “crust.”
Give the kohlrabi-spinach mixture one final stir (you want an even coating of those golden eggs), then spoon it into the phyllo-lined pan. Fold the draped edges back toward the center of the dish. Add 5 more sheets of dough across the top, brushing oil/butter on each layer, including the final one. Use a paring knife to score a few vents in the top of the pie, making sure you pierce all the layers of the top crust.
Bake until crisp and golden brown on top—about 50 minutes for a larger-format pan, and 40 minutes for the 5″x7″.
I’m gun-shy about cold glass in a hot oven, so to bake off a frozen portion, I put the pan directly from the freezer into a cold oven, let it come up to temp, and then watch it carefully after half an hour. If you’ve got a metal pan, drop it straight into a pre-heated oven, knowing it’ll likely have to bake 10-15 minutes longer than a fresh pie.
Leftovers reheat well, too, but you’ll want to re-crisp the top in a toaster oven (or regular oven) for a few minutes.