Swiss Chard and Gruyere Tart

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I love baking savory tarts and frittatas as the weather starts to warm up. Eggs! Greens! Herbs! All the lovely things that springtime brings. This tart is endlessly riffable — you can substitute the Swiss chard with other leafy greens and use other cheeses instead of Gruyere if you wish.

Swiss Chard and Gruyere Tart

Ingredients:

Salt
2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, stemmed and washed
1 pie shell
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pepper
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the Swiss chard. Blanch for 1 minute, until just tender, and drain in a colander. Squeeze out water, chop coarsely, and set aside.

2. Heat the oven to 375F degrees.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the green onions. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chopped Swiss chard and stir together. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and set aside.

4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in the greens and onions. Season with pepper and stir in the cheeses. Transfer filling into the pie shell. Bake for 35 minutes, until firm and beginning to brown on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Scrambled Eggs with Sausage and Thyme

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Cream cheese does the heavy lifting in this easy scrambled eggs recipe, making for a fluffy and decadent texture. The whole thing comes together in a matter of minutes. Serve this on sourdough bread and you’re all set.

Scrambled eggs with sausage and thyme

8 eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cooked smoked turkey sausage or similar, quartered lengthwise, sliced crosswise
3/4 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

1. Whisk eggs, mustard, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend well. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and saute until brown, about 3 minutes. Add green onions and thyme and saute 1 minute. Transfer mixture to bowl.

2. Add 1 tablespoon butter to same skillet; melt over medium heat. Add eggs and cheese; stir until eggs are softly set and cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes. Add sausage; stir until eggs are just set, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to platter. Serve with bread.

Fava Bean Fritatta (Kuku-ye Baghali)

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Kuku refers to an Iranian fritatta, of which there are many styles. Kuku sabzi (herb fritatta) and kuku sibzamini (potato fritatta) are the most popular, but fava bean kuku is my most favorite of them all. Seasoned with dill, onions, and garlic, this makes for a perfect brunch or picnic food.

Every year I eagerly await springtime, when fava beans are in season. Last year I came up on more than 15 pounds of favas from Imwalle Gardens in Santa Rosa — no complaints here.

Kuku-ye baghali

Ingredients:

1 pound fava beans, shelled and peeled
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
4 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 cup chopped fresh or 1/2 cup dried dill

1. Remove the second skin from fava beans and place the beans in a saucepan with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Boil for 10 minutes over medium heat. Drain and set aside to cool.

2. In a skillet, brown onions and garlic in 3 teaspoons oil. Add beans and stir. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Break eggs into a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, and yogurt. Beat lightly with a fork. Add chopped dill and fava beans and mix.

4. Heat remaining 3 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet, pour in the egg mixture, and cook, covered, over low heat until it has set, about 15 minutes. Cook the second side by cutting into wedges and carefully turning each wedge over one by one. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes longer. Serve kuku with flatbread and yogurt.

Iranian Tomato and Eggplant Frittata (Varagheh)

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Iranian cuisine has all manners of frittata, which are typically called kuku: herb kuku, potato kuku, eggplant kuku — you get the picture. But I’d never had varagheh growing up, which is basically kuku’s cousin: an herby, garlicy egg dish layered with stacks of eggplant and tomato. In other words, a Persian summer in a cast-iron skillet.

Adapted from Naz Deravian’s Bottom of the Pot cookbook, this northern Iranian dish has become one of my favorite Iranian recipes. You can make this ahead of time, cut it into wedges, and serve it at room temperature, but be careful: these go fast.

Varagheh

Ingredients:

1 pound Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1⁄2-inch-thick rounds
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
7 eggs
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1 heaping tablespoon minced tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tomatoes, sliced into 1⁄4-inch rounds

1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

2. Toss eggplant with 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then spread out on baking sheet. Roast until tender, turning once halfway through, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, then lower heat to 400F degrees.

3. While eggplant roasts, beat eggs with garlic, tarragon, capers, remaining 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

4. Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Add butter and remaining 1 tbsp. oil. When sizzling, add half of tomatoes in a layer (overlapping if needed), and layer with half of eggplant. Repeat with remaining tomatoes and eggplant. Pour in eggs.

5. Bake until set and edges are slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

Shallot and Yogurt Dip (Mast-o Musir)

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Yogurt-based dips and side dishes factor in heavily in Iranian cuisine and none is more ubiquitous than mast-o khiar, or cucumber and mint yogurt dip. But mast-o musir (yogurt with dried shallots) is just as delicious and honestly? Nothing beats this as a potato chip dip.

Mast-o musir

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried Iranian shallots (musir)
2 cups yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Place dried shallots in a medium bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak until softened, at least 2 hours. Drain, rinse, and pat dry. Chop the shallots finely.

2. Combine the shallots with yogurt, salt, and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve as an appetizer with potato chips, pita chips, or lavash bread, or serve as a side dish alongside your entree.