Monday, August 29, 2011

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart

I keep lavender by the door for luck. Believe if you put basil under your pillow, you will see your true love and build Midsummer bonfires for the faeries. Gardens are magical to me. The transformation of a seed into a fruit, vegetable, flower or herb is part science and part enchantment. You will never convince me otherwise.

It is inconceivable to me that my French thyme would have returned after the brutal, long winter winter of 2010-2011. But it did. And I felt I had to do it justice. 

I am attracted to tarts. If there is more meaning to that fact, I won't explore it. And while I never would pass on a sweet fruit tart or an almond cream tart - when given a choice to bake - I go for the savory. The summer sun still graces us with its strong sunbeams but all is more filtered now. The light seems more delicate. And that is thyme. Faery-twigs of tiny delicate leaves that impart a soft, fragrant flavor. A kiss from the earth. 

The Swiss Chard and Herb Tart hails from Tuscany - a place that I remember of soft light - hidden behind hills and filtered through trees. The recipe is from Bon Appetit's May 2000 issue that was devoted to Tuscany. I almost have that issue memorized. And if you know me - I don't toil in the kitchen. This is easy - using frozen puff pastry for the crust.

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart Ingredients
1 pound Swiss Chard - stems and ribs removed (I used two bunches and only removed the thickest stems)

1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove minced (I probably used more)
1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese (whole milk)
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (I used an entire teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano (I again used an entire teaspoon - I have an oregano bush)
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg (I used more)

1-17.03 ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed (two sheets)

Swiss Chard and Herb Tart Preparation
Need: 9 inch pastry tart pan with removable bottom. Although I used a pie plate because I didn't notice that part!

Bon Appetit has you boil the chard until just wilted, dry it and then saute it. I just sauteed it!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Chop chard.
Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add chopped garlic. Saute 1 minute.
Add chard until just wilted. - about two minutes.
Transfer chard to large bowl. Let cool. Mix in ricotta and next 7 ingredients.

Roll out 1 pastry sheet on slightly floured surface to about a 14-inch square.
Transfer pastry to tart pan. Trim edges leaving a 1-inch overhang.
Fill pastry with chard mixture.
Lightly brush pastry overhang with brush dipped in water.
Roll out 2nd pastry sheet to a 13-inch square. Using tart pan as a guide, trim pastry square into a 10-inch round. Drape over filling. Seal edges.
Bake about 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
Cool ten minutes and serve.

 There are a lot of summer greens you can play with: spinach, kale, arugula. Basil would also marry well and I wouldn't argue if found yourself incorporating zucchini and/or tomatoes instead of the greens.

Soft, savory, flaky. Italian rustic. A touch of the wild and the bitter wrapped in sweet pillows of cheese. As you serve this, you feel touched by Tuscany.


Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I really should be adventurous and try Swiss chard...because your tart looks fabulous! My thyme made it through the winter, but the drought this summer may have done it in! Rats.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Havent tried collards or swiss chard, with so many wonderful posts lately I am curious what these taste like which family my guess is escarole? I just love this tart, greens are my favorite I know I will adore this!

Claudia said...

Swiss Chard is pretty mild - not as bitter as escarole or chicory - and without the bite of kale - but all could be used according to taste.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Swiss chard is just about my favorite green and I have plenty of it and herbs in the garden. This tart is a great way to put them to use.

chow and chatter said...

lovely tart any herb I can put under my pillow to tempt baby out he he

Angie's Recipes said...

Love Swiss chard and the tart looks splendid!
Bought a couple of bundles from the farm market last week and I have enjoyed them tremendously with a simple stir-fry (scattered with some black forest smoked bacon bits), on thin crust pizzas, etc. Gotta some again on Thursday-farmer market time!

Eleonora Baldwin said...

Did you know that the agriturismo farm I stayed at in Tuscany also grew lots of "bietola"? I love it, and am constantly cooking with it-just like you.
This recipe is new to me, because I've never thought of combining Swiss chard with cheese, a great idea!

Thanks for the inspiration :)

Yesim said...

never tried this before.. and if i put basil , i ll see my true love?? i should give a try that :D

Jeannie said...

Can't say I have tried Swiss chard but you make them sounds so delicious!

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

I'm sold! You took me on a lovely herbal fantasy trip. (Never heard about basil under the pillow.) Your story and recipe, both perfectly delightful. (And I love chard and have an abundance of it in the garden still.)

Jill Colonna said...

Wow. This is something very like what they serve in Corsica (well, it's just about Italian ;-)
Looks delicious and love your herbs. Didn't realise about the basil under the pillow and lavender for luck.

Unknown said...

Wow, that's incredibly gorgeous. I need to get my hands on that issue. I surprised that the magazine would have you boil the chard and then saute it. I think your way makes tons more sense (and leaves the nutrients in the chard where they belong).

Absolutely beautiful tart.

That Girl said...

I fell in love with biology one day when I was thinking about the structure of a leaf and it's ability to produce what it needs for life. It's so magical.

Beth said...

I'm sure I still have that same issue. Your pie looks amazing!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Back to tell you how to make pretty cream puffs. I used a cookie disher and scooped equal amounts onto a cookie sheet. Then, with a damp finger, I just lightly pressed down any spikes. Easy as can be. Hope you've had a great day, Claudia :)

Anonymous said...

A lovely tart! Terrific flavors with all the herbs!

Reeni said...

Your tart is glorious! With swiss chard growing like a weed in my garden along with thyme I'd be a fool not to make this. A kiss from Tuscany would make me very happy.

gaga said...

I've never had a pie like this, looks tasty!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I am a savory tart lover myself, Claudia! I also like the rich green taste of swiss chard. Wonderful recipe that i know I will enjoy!

PS: I'm having a wonderful time this week spending time with my grandsons...they are so full of energy! Thankfully, our neighborhood escaped hurricane damage.

FOODESSA said...

My Fairy Foodessa would be thrilled to live within your magical garden. Having a piece of that savoury torta would be a bonus ;0)

Btw...thanks for the reference you passed by with the other day. As soon as I can get a crock pot, I'll try making the polenta tubeless ;)

Ciao for now,

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm more of a savory tart person myself too. Now if only I could learn to like Swiss chard...
Looks like I'll be using spinach. Love your sprig of time on top. I'll have to try the basil under the pillow trick Claudia.

Velva said...

Claudia, that is a delightful tart.

Lavandar by the door-wow.

Claudia said...

Sam - basil under the pillow won't work for you - you have your true love!

Velva: I think lavender by the door for luck is a New England thing. I am an equal-opportunity lucky-charm person! I embrace them all!

tasteofbeirut said...

One area of Italy that I long to visit...soon. This tart reminds me of one from the south of France/ I love swiss chard, in any form. Wonderful here, with a great wine!

Kim said...

You absolutely won me over with this statement: "A touch of the wild and the bitter wrapped in sweet pillows of cheese." I'm completely sold!

Stacey Snacks said...

Love the Swiss chard tart! I made one but didn't want to post 2 tarts in one week, people might start to worry!

Bo said...

I bet this was delicious...I have made something very similar with spinach and ricotta.

Hutchinsons said...

I really like Swiss Chard and am always looking for new ways to deliver it to the family. This one will go on the list!

Juliana said...

Claudia, this tart looks so yummie, and I like the idea that you add more herbs...I'd too.
Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend :-)

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

When you mention herbs for me it's synonym of good flavor.

Ricotta, Parmesan mmm more garlic, olive oil and pepper - this THE exact combination I love in savory dishes! I haven't tried this combo yet, in desserts ;)



cookingvarieties said...

hi claudia, this tar looks so yummy with cheese, one of my favorite ingredients. simply delicious, with aromatic herbs to enhance flavor. thanks ,would love to try this.
glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am Wan, from malaysia, do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day

Monet said...

I'm wishing I had one of these to welcome my out of town guests with! Just Beautiful! Thank you for sharing a delicious and inspiring recipe, my friend. I hope your weekend is full of laughter! Hugs from Austin.

Proud Italian Cook said...

I love swiss chard, I have some blanched and tucked away in my freezer. When I can justify eating puff pastry again, I will make this. You know how I feel about ricotta!

Barbara GF said...

This is luscious, Claudia! And I have plenty of kale to be inspired to make it!