Grilled Vegetable and Feta Pot Pie
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
Summer in my kitchen is defined by an abundance of fresh vegetables from CSAs, farmers markets and plain ol’ grocery stores that carry local produce. I can always be found grilling something. Leftovers do happen, but most often I just make more than I need at the moment, knowing I can pull this comforting, warming recipe out anytime, especially on a rainy summer day. This dish this is an easy way to use a multitude of vegetables. Zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant are the ones I used this time, but you can try kale, kohlrabi, corn—even potatoes; they’ll all be good, even two or three days after they’ve been cooked. This is seriously filling and delicious fare.
5 small to medium zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise (1/2 to 1 inch thick)
1 large or 2 medium globe eggplant (see Kitchen Tip), peeled, trimmed, and halved lengthwise (1/2 to 1 inch thick)
4 small to medium summer squash, trimmed and halved lengthwise (1/2 to 1 inch thick)
12 to 14 ramps or thin scallions, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 stick (½ cup/114 grams/8 tablespoons) butter
8 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 pinch ground nutmeg
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 fat pinch saffron
2 pounds feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ generous cups)
8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced, any green centers discarded
1 large bunch fresh dill, minced
Leaves of 1 small bunch fresh oregano
1 sheet puff pastry, Dufour brand preferred (see Kitchen Tips)
1 teaspoon water
- Grill the vegetables: Heat a grill over high heat. Place the cut zucchini, eggplant, summer squash, and ramps or scallions in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and turn gently to coat.
- With tongs, place the vegetables on the grill and cook until they are soft but not mushy, checking for doneness frequently and removing the ones that are done sooner. Place the vegetables in a covered, heatproof container and refrigerate until chilled. This can be done up to 2 days before making the pot pie.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 385°F. Spray a deep 13- by 9-inch casserole dish (see Kitchen Tips) with nonstick vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- In a large saucepan set over high heat, heat the butter until foamy. Add the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is a medium brown in color, but not dark. Add the cream and milk and whisk to combine. Add the saffron and whisk gently until it comes to a light boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture comes to a hard boil; then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Roughly chop all the grilled vegetables including the ramps or scallions into about ½-inch pieces and place them into a large mixing bowl. Add the feta cheese, garlic, dill, and oregano and stir to combine. Add the hot cream mixture and stir to combine again. Pour into the prepared casserole dish.
- Unfold the puff pastry dough and lay it across the top. Make an egg wash by mixing the egg and water in a small cup. Brush the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rust is a deep warm brown and puffed. This is best served immediately.
- Eggplant can be bitter, so many cooks take preliminary steps to reduce the bitterness. One way is to salt the eggplant first. Salting is done to draw the liquid out of many vegetables (think cucumbers in cucumber salad) and with eggplant, it has it added benefit of drawing out the bitter flavor compounds along with the vegetable’s natural liquids. It also renders the eggplant less likely to soak up too much oil. Peel and cut the eggplant, salt liberally and let stand in a colander set over a bowl for about 1 hour. At the end of the hour, you will see beads of “sweat” on eggplant. Rinse very well under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels, pressing gently to remove as much water as possible. Continue with your recipe.
- Frozen puff pastry comes in different sizes, depending on the brand you use; for this recipe, the sheet of pastry should be big enough to cover your pan with 1 inch of overhang. (You can always roll it with a rolling pin if you need to lengthen it a bit. If you wind up with any scraps, however, you can’t reroll and use them.)
- You can make this pot pie in any size or shape you like, as you’ll see from the photos that accompany this recipe. The instructions here are for one large pot pie, but the recipe will adapt easily to whatever baking dishes you have and/or however you’d like to serve.