As the cooler days and nights increase I've been working on clearing out the summer garden and planting some vegetables that will winter over well. Chard has always been a good go-to crop, beside the taste being fantastic, I welcome the bright green and rainbow ribbing on my plate in the cold winter months when food can look a bit pallid sometimes. Another plus to cooler days is turning the oven back on after its summer hiatus. So many delicious possibilities that will warm the house up.
Whenever I make this tart I get all caught up in the simplicity of it. Just a few ingredients (seasonal ones) make up something lovely. Rustic, peasant style, prepared entirely by hand. Food like this reminds me of slower times, past and present when life is still full but a bit less chaotic. My grandfather (a sweet Italian fella) had lots of simple dishes with a rustic quality up his sleeve, green beans and potatoes from his garden cooked to perfection and drizzled with olive oil and garlic or a simple focaccia, poked with holes and sprinkled with salt and olive oil just to name a few. I loved his cooking growing up and his enthusiasm of sharing. I'd like to think he would have enjoyed this savory tart with some bitter greens simply dressed.
This simple tart would make a great addition to your winter repertoire, the only stickler with this recipe is to splurge on a good knob of sharp cheddar cheese, go big in the cheese department!
Chard Tart with Cheddar Crust
For the filling
10 oz chard
4 green onions
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 oz cheddar grated
1 1/2 oz Pecorino or Parmesan
For the pastry
2 cups all purpose flour
8 tablespoons butter, cut into small dice
1 1/4 oz cheddar
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of milk
Combine flour and butter into a bowl. Rub butter into flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Grate the cheese and stir it in along with the thyme, a pinch of black pepper, the beaten egg, and the milk. Bring it together to form a ball.
Line a quarter sheet pan ( 13"x9") with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll pastry out and place in sheet pan. Press the pastry carefully into the corners and crimp the edges, then chill for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. To make the filling, blanch the chard in boiling water until tender. Drain and squeeze water out, then coarsely chop the chard. Finely slice the green onions and add to chard with some some and pepper.
Lay a piece of parchment paper in pastry shell and weigh it down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, until pastry is firm, then remove the paper and return the pastry to the oven for another 5 minutes or until dry to the touch.
Place the chard and onion mixture into the pastry shell. Beat the eggs and cream until well mixed and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the grated cheddar over the chard and pour over the egg and cream mixture. Bake for twenty five minutes, until pastry is golden and filling is set.