This is one of those dishes invented by our beloved grandmas to help us eat our vegetables. In this case is my friend Laura's grandma, Bertha Santana, from Dominican Republic who came out with this delicious and creative way to help Laura eat her vegetables and feel good about it. She called it "Pastelón Primaveral". You can use almost any vegetable available in your fridge, but Laura says that the best choice for the vegetable that goes in the top part is either broccoli or cauliflower. I happened to have broccoli, but she made it the other day arranging the cauliflower florets in the top and it looked great. Thanks Laura!
- 1 loaf sandwich bread, dark ends trimmed (you can use either white or whole wheat bread, in this case I used half of each) You can also use any leftover bread that you have handy, with the hard part trimmed.
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided in 2 equal portions
- 1 broccoli head, cut in florets
- 5 carrots, cut in slices
- 1 bunch fresh spinach, washed (you can use the frozen one too)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 6 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°. Trim the ends of the bread and crumble it in small pieces. Mix the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and salt. Add the bread to the eggs mixture and let it rest. Meanwhile steam the carrots and broccoli in separate batches, and cook the spinach and crushed garlic in a little olive oil. To each cooked vegetable add 2 tablespoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste. To assemble the dish divide the bread and eggs mixture in three. In an oven resistant container (about 8x8 inches) first add one part of the bread and eggs mixture, then arrange the spinach in one layer and top it with 1/8 cup parmesan cheese. Add the second layer of bread and eggs mixture and top it with the carrot with 1/8 cup parmesan cheese. Add the last part of the bread and eggs mixture and arrange the broccoli on top, sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and bake it for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Broil for 3 minutes to melt the cheese and serve.