The Swiss chard coming off the farm right now is just stunning. I made a lovely chard and goat cheese ravioli the other day (sadly, I took no pictures), and this beaut of a chard tart.
You can use, of course, a pre-made crust and this will be just fine. Me, I’m trying to learn to be the sort of cook who can just whip up a tart, so I made the crust from scratch. Looks nice, but honestly, it was a little tough. Sigh. Back to the lab.
Anyway, cut up a bunch of onions and garlic and saute with plenty of oil. Cut the gorgeous chard stems into small pieces and the leaves into larger ones. Throw them in the pan and toss until well wilted. Lots of books will tell you to leave the moisture from washing on the leaves, which is fine, but make sure you cook it off until the result isn’t soupy. You don’t want a soupy tart.
Put that into your crust. Pretty, no?
Next, your custard. You need about a half cup of milk or cream to every egg. I’m dedicated to maximum decadence, so I used cream. And I got tricky and added a teaspoon of fennel pollen. I’ve never seen it for sale around here, but you can get it online from Silk Road Spices in Calgary. I’ve read that Italians use it to boost flavours both savory and sweet, but frankly, I have my doubts. I looked for it on a trip to Italy last year, and found nothing but shrugs and blank stares. Still, it’s plenty tasty. You can skip it entirely, or add any flavouring at this point that you like. Mix it into your custard and pour that in with the chard.
Bake at 325° until the custard is set, 25-30 minutes. Serve with tossed greens.
Words and pictures: Rob Bitschofsky