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A Crostada, with Love

June 10, 2010

When is the last time you had a great crostada? For most of us, not for a while. For some of us, the only response would be “Um…I’m not sure…remind me, what exactly is a crostada?”

I looked it up in a few places, and the basic definition is that it is a rustic looking, free-form Italian tart, traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the filling. It is often sweet, frequently filled with fruit like blackberries or blueberries or peaches or plums, but sometimes savory, and also can go by the name croustade (kroo-STAHD), which my handy dandy Food Lover’s Companion defined as “an edible container used to hold a thick stew, creamed meat, vegetable mixture, and so on,” though in this definition the dough container is usually cooked before the filling is added.

The point being that I broke my foot last week. No, that’s not the actually the point. I did break my foot last week, and the real point is that my cooking abilities are much more limited than normal, so I am attempting some deep breathing exercises, and also the exercise of allowing others to cook for me. Chris Styler, friend ne plus ultra, showed up with the most amazing dinner last night for my whole family, which does in fact link us back to the croustade. (Chris’s lovely partner Joe also arrived, and I am going to show you a photo of the pan he cleaned, which is so shiny I am tempted to return it to the store).

Chris brought over a big pat of dough, which was not much more than a perfect blend of olive oil and flour, and a pre-made filling which was an amazing blend of Parmesan, swiss chard, eggs, ricotta, salt, pepper…so simple, a little wet, but not runny. With the help of young Charlie (who apparently prefers to be called Chuck these days), the dough was rolled out, the filling was spooned in, and the edges were folded up.  A quick brush with beaten egg, and into the oven it went.

It tasted every bit as great as it looks. It’s not like I wanted to break my foot or anything, but a slab of this tart — accompanied by a serious heap of fresh lettuce, shaved fennel, and fat sauteed shrimp — made me feel as though this, too, shall pass.

While Chris riffed his way through his crostada, you can achieve similar glories with recipes like this Golden Mixed-Greens Pie recipe or this Renaissance Winter Greens Tart. You can also whip up a batch of savory pie dough, make a quiche or savory tart or pie filling that you like, and create something new.

And how clean is that pan?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Abby permalink*
    June 10, 2010 3:51 pm

    Can Chris please write in his recipe?!

    Now I’m starving for a crostada!!!


  2. June 11, 2010 2:28 pm

    Looks amazing! I have two cartons of blueberries and some blackberries. Maybe I’ll make one on the sweet side for a dinner party tomorrow night.

  3. Gaia permalink
    June 17, 2010 2:35 pm

    By the way (take it from an italian), it is called “crostata”, not crostada. 😉

  4. July 22, 2010 10:41 am

    gaia – tell that to Giada de Laurentis! I spell it the same as she. There are two ways to spell it.

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