My husband’s a CPA, a numbers guy. I’m more of a word person. Yet it dawned on me today is Pi Day the celebration that takes place each year on 3/14 — the first three digits of pi. You remember this from Euclidian geometry, right?
Euclid was a Greek mathematician who founded geometry back some 300 years BC. And yet Pi Day has somehow become linked with pizza — mostly because people love it. Pizza, though, isn’t Greek. It’s Roman.
In honor of pi and in honor of Greece, I give you hortopsomo, a great Greek pie stuffed with a bounty of greens and herbs. I adore this dish and adore Aglaia Kremezi, who shared it with me. Aglaia lives on the idyllic Greek island of Kea, and though we’ve never met, I think of her as my kitchen sister.
There’s no temperamental pie crust involved in hortopsomo. Instead, a slurry of cornmeal, water and olive oil magically forms a crust during baking. This may be the dish that gets you to love greens as much as I do. Its bright flavor sings of spring. It keeps for days, reheats beautifully, and can do double-duty for St. Patrick’s Day. Beats green beer. Happy Pi Day, happy St. Patrick’s Day.
- 2 bunches scallions white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped dill
- 2 cups chopped tender greens: outer leaves of lettuce spinach or chard. Use tender foraged greens, if available.
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups yellow cornmeal or more as needed
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- About 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup chopped chervil
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pine nuts optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- In a large bowl toss together the scallions, parsley, dill and greens. Add the salt and ‘knead’ the mixture to wilt and soften the greens. Their volume will reduce considerably.
- In a small bowl mix 1-1/2 cups cornmeal with the water and add to the green-herb mixture. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, the mint and chervil and1/2 -1 teaspoon pepper and toss well to mix.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush generously with olive oil. Scatter the pine nuts on the paper, if you are using them, and then carefully spread the mixture, making sure that it is not thicker than 2/3 of an inch.
- Mix 1/2 cup cornmeal with 1/2 cup warm water and spread over the greens. You may need a bit more cornmeal slurry to almost cover the greens. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes, or more, until set and lightly golden.
- Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
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