Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableCharlie Barber is by all accounts, a pretty good cook. I wish I had to thought to ask him more about what and how he likes to cook but quite honestly, last week at the BBC Good Food Show, I had cheese goggles on and only had eyes for the cheese – that judging room for the World Cheese Awards is my idea of heaven! Those of you who know me, know how much I LOVE cheese – my favourite course at any dinner is the cheeseboard; I love having people round for a meal because it gives me an excuse to buy some extra special cheese. One Christmas, I remember eating far too much of the preceding courses and couldn’t manage a scrap of cheese. I was so cross with myself – we had bought some gorgeous cheeses that year.  Anyway, when Charlie threw down a challenge to come up with a recipe using my local produce and their delicious Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar, I wasn’t going to refuse!

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableI’ve been wanting to make one of those free form open crostatas for some time with a lovely flaky, buttery pastry;  pastry and cheese is always delicious so there was the start of the recipe. Our veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm, is full of seasonal produce which has been grown locally without the use of pesticides. I had some of their beautiful late season Rainbow Chard that was begging to be used as well as some of their onions.

Chard, onions and Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Chard, onions and Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheese

I also had some large slicing tomatoes from the local greengrocers but they would need to be roasted, low and slow to get rid of a lot of their moisture. The tomatoes may have been a subconscious thing because Elaine had tried some sundried tomatoes from one of the many small producer food stands at the Good Food Show and said how delicious they were…Slow roasting them this way really intensifies the tomato flavour and is great way to treat tomatoes that may not have the flavour they should. I like to make batches of them and store them in oil to use in sandwiches, pasta dishes and sauces.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes | Selma's Table

Slow roasting the tomatoes

I love tarragon with tomatoes and it goes well with the earthiness of beetroot too. Chard is a member of the beet family so it seemed like a natural combination. Nonetheless, before I added in the tarragon, I conducted a little taste test with a spoonful of cooked chard, caramelised onion and a sprinkle of cheddar just to make sure and it did work really well together. That aniseed flavour does not appeal to everyone so replace it with rosemary, thyme or even basil if you are so inclined.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's TableThis recipe is best made over two days. Slow roast the tomatoes, caramelise the onions and make the dough on the first day. The smell of the slowly roasting tomatoes and caramelising onions will drive you and anyone else around, mad with unrequited sensory hunger so I suggest having something strongly flavoured to snack on! On the second day, sauté the chard, roll out the dough then assemble and bake the crostata.

Layering galette | Selma's Table

Layering galette

The pastry is a basic shortcrust pastry using half fat to flour, a pinch of salt (I used vegetable stock powder to give it a more savoury flavour) and just enough iced water to make it come together. The trick is to cut the cold unsalted butter into quite small cubes with a small sharp knife and put these back into the fridge. The butter needs to be really cold so that you can rub – well, slide really,  the butter between your fingers, into the flour and into flakes without it melting. Stir in the iced water a little at a time. Once the dough has come together, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge overnight or for at least an hour.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Making the dough

Roll it out between two sheets of baking paper using one of the sheets to transfer it onto the baking sheet. This produced a really seriously flaky pastry that even Jake commented on.

A very flaky shortcrust pastry | Selma's Table

Rolling out the shortcrust dough between two sheets of parchment paper

This crostata is full of flavour with the intensely flavoured slow roasted tomatoes, the caramelised onions, the earthy chard, the aniseed of tarragon and Barber’s superb Vintage Reserve cheddar cheese. It is wonderful as a light lunch or supper dish or as part of a mezze style table.

Slow Roasted Tomato & Chard Galette with Barber's Cheddar Cheese | Selma's Table

I’m taking this Tomato and Chard Crostata with Barber’s Cheddar to the party animals over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #44. Today she has made some stunning sandwiches with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Only Angie can take a bit of roast turkey and some bread and make it look like something from a magazine spread! Co-hosting today are two of my favourite story tellers –  Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport. Their posts are always inspirational, touching and funny. Their amazing recipes are a bonus!!

Tomato & Chard Crostata with Barber's Cheddar

  • Servings: 4 as a main or 6 - 8 slices as part of a tapas
  • Difficulty: moderate
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INGREDIENTS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  • 600 g tomatoes (cherry, plum, slicing, heirloom)
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbps finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper

For the Caramelised Onions

  • 1 large or 2 medium white onion, finely sliced
  • 30ml/ 2Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • pinch of salt

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  • 160g flour
  • ½ tsp vegetable stock powder or ¼ tsp of salt
  • 80 g cold unsalted butter
  • 3 – 5 Tbsp iced water

To finish

  • 200g chard, leaves and stems
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 Tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 100 g Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp of milk

INSTRUCTIONS

For the Slow Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C/200F.
  2. If the tomatoes are large, slice them horizontally into 4 slices. If they are cherry or plum tomatoes, slice them vertically, into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  3. Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, season and sprinkle with the chopped rosemary.
  4. Roast for between 2 – 6 hours. The time really depends on how much moisture they have and how thick the slices are. My slices took 4 hours. I checked every hour after the first two looking for the slices to be fairly dry but still soft. Once they have cooled off, use a slice to lift them off and place in a bowl scraping the gorgeous concentrated tomato juice and oil off the sheet and over them. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

For the Caramelised Onions

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir in the finely sliced onions.
  2. Stir in a pinch of salt and when the onions are coated in the oil and butter, turn the heat down to low and let this cook down for about an hour. Stir from time to time – the onions should cook down to a pale gold sticky mass. Cool and refrigerate until needed.

For the Shortcrust Pastry

  1. Place the flour and stock powder or salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.
  2. Toss the cold butter cubes through the flour to coat them; then working quickly, slide them (as if you were clicking your fingers and thumb) between your fingers and thumb into the flour, over and over again – you want flat, flour-coated shards of butter flakes as well as the usual coarse sand type mixture.
  3. Using a fork, stir in 2 – 3 Tbsp of water. Then, use your fingertips to bring the dough together – handle it as lightly and as little as possible. If you need additional water to bring it together, then add it one table spoon at a time. I needed 4 Tbsp. Keep it in the bowl as you bring it together into a ball – remember to handle it lightly and as little as possible. Press lightly into a disc then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days.

To finish and assemble

  1. Fill the sink with water and swish the chard leaves about. Leave them in the sink for any grit to settle on the bottom.
  2. In the meantime, finish off the onions by stirring through the creme fraiche and the tarragon and set aside. Grate the cheese and set aside. Remove the slow roasted tomatoes from the fridge and set aside. Whisk the egg and milk together in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Carefully scoop the chard out of the sink and cut out the stems. I fold them in half along the stem and use a pair of scissors to snip them out quickly. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. While it is heating, slice the chard stems into 1 cm pieces stir into the pan together with the fennel seeds. With lots of water clinging to the chard leaves, roughly chop them. Once the stems have softened a little – 3 or 4 minutes, stir in the chopped leaves, season lightly and let these cook down for about a minute. Then turn off the heat and let this cool while you get on with the pastry.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F.
  5. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper, flipping it over from time to time until it is about 30 cm/12 inches in diameter. It will be quite thin. You can also roll it out on a lightly flour dusted work surface (no need to flip) but rolling it out between parchment paper makes the process so much easier. Once it is approximately the right size, peel off the top parchment paper and use the bottom one to transfer it onto a baking sheet, leaving the parchment underneath it.
  6. Leaving a 3 cm/1 inch border around the edge, sprinkle over half the cheese. Spread the onion mixture on top of the cheese and cover this with the cooked chard. Sprinkle over most of the remaining cheese then top with the tomatoes and a final sprinkle of cheese. Drizzle over any oily tomato juices which may have collected then fold over the border, pleating the pastry as you go along. Brush the pastry with the egg wash.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through. Cool on a rack and serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.