Savory Skillet Pie
A cornmeal crust forms the base for this savory pie, which showcases fresh summer produce. For optimum flavor, buy the corn, bell peppers and other produce at a farmers’ market. You get twice the bang for your buck when you cook with local, in-season vegetables and fruits. They’re not only at their peak of flavor but also abundant, which brings down their price. Plus, produce from local sources doesn’t have to travel far, so it’s picked at its ripest and goes from farm to table in a flash.
For the cornmeal crust:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 Tbs. ice water, plus more as needed
- 4 thick-cut bacon slices, diced, cooked and fat reserved
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cobs, kernels and cobs reserved
- 4 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut thinly on the bias
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 bunch chard, ribs removed and leaves cut into strips
- 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh chives
To make the cornmeal crust, in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar and pulse to combine, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 3 Tbs. ice water and pulse 4 or 5 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 425°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron fry pan, pressing the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Fold under the overhanging dough and flute the edges. Prick the sides and bottom of the dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, pricking the pastry with a fork if it puffs up. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
To make the filling, in a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the reserved bacon fat. Add the onion, bell pepper and corn kernels and cook until the vegetables are just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the green beans, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Warm 1 tsp. of the bacon fat in the pan. Add the chard and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the onion mixture.
Using a butter knife, scrape the corncobs into a large bowl to extract the juices. Whisk in the half-and-half, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in the bacon, cheese and vegetable mixture and pour into the crust. Transfer to the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the chives. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Serves 8.