My veg box this week included some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard and to celebrate the gorgeous spring weather we have been having, I decided that I wanted to use them in a tart. A quick internet search brought me to a recipe by Ottolenghi which I knew I could adapt without too much trouble. Isn’t rainbow chard beautiful? I read that the coloured shard stalks can bleed into paler colours when cooking but I didn’t find this to be a problem. Chard does need to have a good soak and swish in a sink full of cold water to dislodge any mud that may be clinging in the leaf crevices. The stems have to cook for a little longer than the leaves so do separate them and use them! The tart was really very delicious – the flaky pastry combined with the greens and cheese reminded me of of that wonderful Greek dish of Spanakoptika. And the textures work really well – slightly crunchy celery and chard stems, buttery flaky pastry, soft greens and creamy cheese – we had this for a mezze type dinner and Jake, who invariably feels shortchanged if there is no meat, didn’t seem to notice and, unprompted, ate the left overs when he got home from school the next day. A printable recipe follows the photos below so you can scroll straight to that if you prefer not to read my ramblings but for those of you that can bear it, this is how I made the Swiss Chard and Herb Tart. First, fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave the in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom and in the meantime slice the onion into half moons and start sautéing them. Slice the celery and add them to the onions. Scoop out the chard leaves and cut out the stems. Slice the chard stems and add to the pan. With lots of water clinging to the chard, slice the chard leaves and chop the herbs and garlic. When the celery has softened a little and become translucent, stir in the chard leaves, the herbs and the garlic. Let this cook down, stirring from time to time, on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime toast the pine nuts (these burn quickly and I find it easier to do in the microwave for a couple of minutes – they don’t brown but get nice and crunchy), crumble the feta, grate the parmesan and zest the lemon. Turn the heat off under the pan and stir in the cheeses, zest and nuts. Season with lots of freshly ground pepper. Leave to cool. In the meantime, turn on the oven and beat the eggs. Unfurl the pastry onto a baking sheet and score a 2 cm border around the edge, using the back of a knife. Spread the cooled filling within the borders and crimp the edges of the pastry to form a lip. Brush the edges with the beaten eggs. Season what is left over of the eggs and pour slowly and evenly over the filling. Dot the top with teaspoons full of ricotta and slices of goats cheese. I also added some halved marinated cherry tomatoes and used some of the marinade to drizzle over the tart. This can of course, be substituted with fresh cherry tomatoes and olive oil. Bake for half an hour and serve warm or at room temperature!
Swiss Chard and Herb Tart
- 1 medium red onion, sliced (about 85 g)
- 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 220 g)
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard; stalk and leaves separated; both roughly chopped (about 250g)
- 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 3 Tbsp mint leaves roughly chopped
- 3 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 100 g feta cheese crumbled
- 50 g parmesan, grated
- 15 g pine nuts toasted
- zest of one lemon
- 1 x 320 g sheet of ready rolled all butter puff pastry
- 8 tsp ricotta cheese
- 50 g (7 or 8 thin slices) of goat’s cheese
- 5 cherry tomatoes halved (I used the marinated ones from this recipe of mine)
- 2 beaten eggs
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium low flame and add the sliced onions.
- While they cook, slice the celery and stir into the pan.
- Remove the stalks from the chard, chop these up and stir into the pan.
- Ribbon (chiffonade) the chard leaves, slice the garlic and chop the herbs.
- Once the celery has softened a little, which should take about 5 minutes, stir in the chard, herbs and garlic. Let this cook down for about 10 minutes and take if off the heat.
- Stir in the feta, parmesan, lemon zest and pine nuts and season with a little salt if necessary (the feta and parmesan are very salty) and a good grinding of pepper. Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Unfurl the pastry and score a 2 cm border around the perimeter.
- Place the cooled chard mixture within the border and crimp or pinch the edge of the pastry to form a lip.
- Dot the top of the chard mixture with the ricotta, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes.
- Brush the edges of the tart with the beaten egg and then gently drizzle the remainder over the tart.
- Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool a little before serving
Eat warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 as a light main course with a salad and some cold cuts for the determined carnivores. Or slice into 12 and serve as mezze for 6.