|Albanian Cornmeal Pie|
May 17th, 2007
I love how adding just a few ingredients to a basic cornbread recipe results in a savory cornmeal pie that can stand on its own as a vegetarian entree or serve as a fabulous side to a variety of dishes. I ate mine as an entree with marinated tomatoes and salad, and the leftovers went nicely with a pea soup one day and black beans and salsa the next.
The recipe comes from an interesting cookbook called Home Cooking Around the World by David Ricketts. I think he does a great job of creating simple recipes that still capture the essence of the native cuisine. Well alright, I must confess I have no idea how closely this cornmeal pie comes to traditional Albanian home cooking, but the cuisines I do know something about (Southeast Asian primarily) are handled well. Plus I'm always partial to cookbooks that offer a bit of a narrative - something to read besides lists of ingredients - and Ricketts' offers that with interesting travel stories and background on his recipe development. For those looking for a good value, I don't know that this book offers a huge amount of recipes for your dollar, as there are a lot of full page pictures in an already fairly short book, but since used copies of the hardcover are going for under $10 I think it's worth your while. Plus it's pretty, and that always helps.
Albanian Cornmeal Pie with Scallions & Feta CheeseUnsalted butter, for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
12 ounces small-curd cottage cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bunch scallions, chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
4 ounces feta cheese
Heat oven to 400°. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
In a medium bowl, stir together the cornmeal, cottage cheese, eggs, scallions, melted butter, thyme, and salt. Scrape into prepared pie plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle the feta over the top.
Bake in 400° oven until golden brown, set, and slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes, then serve warm.
-David Ricketts, Home Cooking Around the World