Thursday, June 25, 2009

What a Tart

Ever since the spring rains have come, I've been somewhat overcome with the availability of tender, delicious leafy greens. Week after week I would pick up bunches of swiss chard, loving the novelty of it, sauteed simply with a little garlic, a few pinenuts and some golden raisins.

But as delicious as that preparation is, it did begin to feel a tad stale after the eighth time in three weeks. So eventually I found myself with a gorgeous bunch of swiss chard that was begging to have something new done with it.

I have been seeing a raft of savory tart and quiche recipes of late, so was inspired to try my hand at creating my own version.

I was aiming for something lighter than a quiche (more veggie, less custard) yet more substantial than a tart. So I loaded up on the chard and onion, defiled the crust with a bit of fresh herb and cornmeal, and threw in a wisp of cayenne to make things interesting. The result was exactly what I was looking for. Tender yet veggie packed filling and a flaky but vaguely rustic crust.

I will say that due to the butter in the crust, the dish is on the rich side. If you would prefer something lighter, you may want to sacrifice some of the flakiness in the crust and go for an oil based crust rather than a butter based one. Or forget the crust altogether, I leave the decision to you. It will be delicious regardless.

Swiss Chard Tart

1 cup flour
1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
ice water as needed

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound swiss chard
2 small or 1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
pinch cayenne pepper
scant scrape of nutmeg
salt to taste

To prepare crust, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, thyme and butter either in a food processor fitted with a steel blade or by hand. The mixture will look like meal, with pieces of butter the size of small peas, when it is ready. With the motor running (or your fork mixing), add the ice water in a slow stream, until the dough just barely comes together. Turn dough out onto a piece of saran wrap, press into a disk and wrap well. Chill for at least an hour.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375. Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to a thickness of about 1/4 of an inch. Lay gently, without stretching, into an 11-inch tart pan and press to fit. Trim any excess dough and feel free to eat it while standing alone in your kitchen. Put the tart dough in the freezer until oven has preheated. Once removed from freezer, drape aluminum foil to fit and then lay dried beans or some other weight on the aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Wash chard thoroughly and cut into ribbons, separating stalks as best you can from the leaves.

Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute onions until just becoming translucent, salting to taste. Add garlic and chard stems and cook for a few minutes longer. Add greens and toss, salting again to taste. Cover and allow to steam until greens are fully cooked. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cayenne pepper and nutmeg together.

Spread swiss chard mixture over the prebaked crust, taking care to leave behind as much moisture as possible so as to avoid making the crust soggy. Then pour egg and milk mixture over the chard. Bake until just set, approximately 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

Oh my. I love a good tart! LOL. The plate is fabulous..and so is the dish!

I have chard in the fridge..and some bok choy greens so I think I'll be making this dish today.

Lady P said...

Ohhh that sounds just right! I like the addition of the cayenne and the cornmeal
thanks for stopping by the blog and have a great trip off listening to bands and what not
that sounds good

mon ami said...

this looks delicious! And, it will help with that pesky CSA bin of mine too;)

thanks for sharing

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