We finally figured out the best thing to do with bissap leaves, a dark green African leaf that is a superfood but tastes a little too sour to eat sauteed alone. We added it to Elizabeth David’s classic Alsatian onion tart and it marbled emerald and gold with the onions.
This tart rich and delicious with creamy onions, and deceptively good for you. Bissap is a superfood full of vitamins and micro-nutrients. Onions do all kinds of good things for you, including helping to dissolve fats in your bloodstream.
The tart is a great dish to bring to brunches, luncheons and pot lucks, but don’t serve it cold. If it’s been in the fridge at all, heat it up in a toaster oven until it’s hot.
Tarte de Bissap
For the pastry:
1 cup / 120 g wheat or buckwheat flour
1/4 cup / 60 g butter or lard
salt and cold filtered water
For the filling:
500 g green bissap leaves (sorrel is a good substitute, as are many other African greens)
1.5 lbs / 700 g onions
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1/2 cup / 150 ml cream or milk
1 tsp. cayenne powder or to taste
salt and black pepper
1. Make your pastry crust. Start with the flour in a bowl. Make a well and add the egg, the butter cut into pieces, and a pinch of salt. Blend with your fingertips and add just enough water so you can make the pastry into a ball. Roll it out and fold it up again a few times, then roll it in a ball and leave it in the fridge to rest for at least two hours so it doesn’t shrink when you bake it. You can leave the time in the fridge out if you need to.
2. While the pastry is resting, slice the onions and put them in a pan with butter on low heat. Stir them from time to time to prevent them browning. The onions will cook down to a quarter of their volume, so don’t worry if the pan is overfull when you start!
3. Saute the bissap leaves in a dry pan, without salt or oil, Stir them regularly to evenly distribute the heat and remove them to a cutting board just as they start to brown and wilt. Let them cool and chop them finely.
4. Preheat your oven to 400 F / 200 C and roll the pastry out into a circle. Slide it gently or flip it over into a round pie tin. Gently push it down into the corners and flatten the edge with the flat part of a fork, in a pattern.
5. While the oven heats up, mix the bissap leaves, onions, flour and eggs. Season the mixture with salt and black pepper.
6. Get the pastry shell you prepared before, and spoon the bissap and onion mixture into it. If you like, sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper or paprika on top, for extra color and nutrition.
7. Bake the tarte for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove it to cool on a counter top or baking rack.
8. If you’re going to eat it right away, let the tart ‘set’ for 5 minutes so that the egg is more solid and the tart is easier to cut.
- Enjoy the tarte as a brunch dish and bring it to your next potluck.
- This is a simple dinner with a side salad and a glass of white wine.
- Substitute other dark leafy green vegetables for the bissap leaves.