So here we are, coming to the end of June, and just like last year my family an I have reached the stage of our gardening where we find ourselves in a bit of a leafy green crisis. We can literally scalp our rows of chard and lettuce and within the week they have grown back to full size. We start to run out of room in the refrigerator, out of storage containers, out of recipes. Though I suppose I can hardly justify complaining about an overabundance of homegrown vegetables. They are gorgeous and delicious and, most notably, absolutely free so we try our best to cram them into as many dishes as possible.
We have found a winner of a recipe in the recent Martha Stewart Living Food Issue Magazine, one that can rid the refrigerator of 1.5 pounds of greens in one fell swoop and is incredibly tasty at the same time. Now, a little side note, if you haven’t picked up this magazine yet, you really should. It has become a permanent fixture on the kitchen table and I discover something new to make every time I flip though it. It also has the recipe for this one-pot pasta, which has been making quite a few appearances in the foodie blogosphere lately. It may very well be the brainchild of someone with magical powers and is revolutionary in its approach to making a pot of pasta. Everything literally cooks together in one pot – you don’t even need a colander. It stands for all things cheap, easy and fabulous and will probably become a weekly thing once our cherry tomato plants begin to burden grace it with their bounty. But back to the recipe at hand…
This here is a Swiss chard tart with sesame cracker crust. To break it down its pretty much like taking the filling of spanakopita (the recipe actually calls for all spinach but, well, we had Swiss chard so that’s what we used) and stuffing it into a tart shell that tastes like those little sesame cracker sticks in the packs of Asian-like trail mix. You know what I’m talking about, right? The pieces that everyone picks outs out of the mix first, leaving behind the stale nori crackers and wasabi peas.
You start by making the dough for the crust, which uses a dump and stir method and it comes together in seconds. It gets rolled out, placed into a tart pan, and baked until golden and crisp. The filling is mostly the greens but they get a salty punch from feta and some nice residual heat from red pepper flakes. And when the two come together and bake until piping hot, the result is simply lovely. The green surface is speckled with the bits of red, yellow, and orange stems of the chard and the scattering of white sesame seeds. The taste borders the line between light and fresh and something that is perhaps a little naughty with its rich, flaky crust. The crust holds up really well and actually stays quite crispy even after refrigerated and heated up again in the microwave. It’s a definite best contender for an easy lunch to bring to work the next day. Because of its richness, it pairs well with something a little more acidic. A pinot grigio would be nice but I had it with
Dogfish Head Festina Peche, a brewed malt beverage with a tart and tangy taste and a lingering wheat-like finish. All in all, with a slice of this tart at hand and a cold glass of your drink of choice, this is all I want out of an early summer evening supper.
Swiss Chard Tart with Sesame Cracker Crust
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp coarse salt
t Tbs. sesame seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
1½ lbs swiss chard
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
3 oz feta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ tsp. coarse salt
½ tsp sesame seeds
Start by making the crust. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the flours, salt and sesame seeds in large bowl and whisk to combine. Add in the olive oil and water and use a wooden spoon to mix together, finishing with your hands to knead it into a uniform ball. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 2 inches wider in diameter than your tart pan (use one with a removable bottom). Fit the dough into the pan, pressing it up the sides and trimming off any excess. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and bake for about 30 minutes and let cool slightly. Once cooked, reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
While the tart crust cooks, prepare the filling. Remove the green leaves from the chard and tear them into large pieces, saving the stems. Add the leaves to a large pot with ¼ cup of water and cover. Heat on medium, stirring periodically until the leaves are wilted. Transfer greens to a sieve placed over a bowl or sink to drain the excess water and set aside. Drain any water from your pan and place over a medium heat with 1Tbs. of oil. When hot, add the shallot, garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the shallot is soft, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
When the chard leaves are cool enough to handle, place themin a clean towel and squeeze it over the sink to remove the extra water. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop. Add to a mixing bowl with the shallot mixture, crumbled feta, eggs, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the filling to the slightly cooled tart shell and evenly press it in. sprinkle the ½ tsp. of sesame seeds overtop. Bake in the 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.