Better late than never, they say . . .
Cindy of Baked Alaska fame chose chard for this week's ingredient. Here is what she said about it:
I don't remember where I originally got this recipe-I think it might have even been from Slow Trav. But I had to laugh when I just went and found my copy-it was adapted from a recipe from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and is one of the recipes I'm to cook for our blog. I love this recipe, and it's really quite easy to make. I'm going to post the recipe as I have it written, and then I'll note at the end some things I do to make it faster and easier.
I used the red Swiss chard in the recipe, which made it very colorful. I also followed Cindy's suggestion of using a pie plate instead of a springform pan, which worked out fine.
Here is the tart just before I put the breadcrumbs on top:
I think I should have added a third egg because they were small, and I only used one bunch of Swiss Chard, so the tart wasn't as high as it should have been. Too many crumbs on top too. So, lots of little things that I would change the next time I make it. Yes, there will be a next time because it was very tasty! Thanks, Cindy!
SWISS CHARD TART
2 1/2 pounds young Swiss Chard w/ undeveloped stalks or 3 1/4 pounds mature (note:I'm sure I never weighed mine, I think I just used a large bunch)
Extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup for cooking chard plus more for greasing and topping the pan
2/3 cup onion, chopped fine
1 cup freshly grated parmegiano reggiano cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup seedless raisins (I use the golden ones as I really like them better), soaked in hot water to soften
Freshly ground black pepper
9" or 10" springform baking pan
2/3 heaping cup of unflavored bread crumbs, lightly toasted
1. If using mature chard, cut off the broad stalks and set aside (good sauteed with garlic and olive oil for a side dish). Cut the leaves into 1/4" shreds. Soak and wash the chard.
2. Boil water in a pot, using enough water and pot volume to accomodate the chard. Cook until tender, approx. 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the moisture from the chard.
4. Chop the chard very fine.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Choose a saute pan that can accomodate the chard. Put in 1/4 cup olive oil and chopped onion. Cook at medium until the onion turns a light nut-brown.
7. Add the chopped chard, turning heat to high. Cook, turning the chard over frequently, until it becomes difficult to keep the chard from sticking to the pan. When done, transfer contents to a bowl and let cool.
8. When chard has cooled to room temperature, add the grated Parmesan, the beaten eggs, and the pine nuts. Drain the raisins, squeeze them dry in your hands, and add them to the bowl. Add a few grindings of black pepper. Mix thoroughly, taste and correct for pepper and salt.
9. Smear the bottom and sides of a springform pan with olive oil. Use a little more than half the bread crumbs, spreading a thin layer evening over the pan. Add the chard mixture, leveling it off, but not pressing it hard. Top with the remaining bread crumbs, and drizzle the top with olive oil.
10. Put pan in preheated oven, and bake for 40 minutes.
11. Remove the pan, running knife edge along side of pan to release the torte. After 5 minutes rest, use a spatula to loosen the torte from the pan bottom and slide it, without turning it over, onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
NOTE: Here's what I do. I do not boil the chard. Mine always seems tender enough, so I just chop it and add it to the cooked onions. I also use most of the stems. I cook it until it has wilted and is tender. I use unflavored breadcrumbs that come in that paper can. I think they're Progesso. I've also used the Italian-flavored ones if that's all I have on hand. I don't usually use a spring-form pan. It makes a nicer presentation, but if it's just for us, I use a pie plate. It's plenty big enough, maybe because I'm using just 1 bunch of chard, which is probably less than the 2.5-3 lbs she calls for. I bake it until the top begins to turn golden. I then let it sit a few minutes, then slice like a pie. We usually eat this as a main course, so we can eat the entire pie between the two of us. If I have leftovers, I do refrigerate it. The next day I either let it come to room temp and eat it that way, or place the pan back into a heated over to reheat.