I have an abundance of swiss chard still shooting up from the garden. I thought summer was over?!? Now, I’m not complaining about what to do with all this fresh, organic produce but I am trying to be creative on how to use it all. I visited Calabria two years ago, a region in southern Italy and I fell in love with a rustic style pasticcio de bietole (translation: swiss chard tart) that I purchased still warm from a local bakery. The dough was filled with swiss chard sauteed with onions, garlic and of course with the classic Calabrese peperoncini. I want these flavours today, but I don’t have the time to make dough. So I’ve found a compromise with Mario Batali’s recipe for Swiss Chard Tart. This recipe cleverly uses bread crumbs to create a bottom and top crust so you put in minimal effort to get a beautiful tart that you can make for a Sunday brunch or dinner. My version adds in the peperoncini for heat (you can also use crushed red pepper flakes), more eggs to make the tart fuller and incorporates herbed breadcrumbs for added flavour. My version of Mario Batali’s Swiss Chard Tart :
2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and spun dry
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small peperoncini, diced (seeds are optional) or crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/8 cup
5 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 cup bread crumbs, plain or herbed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling-boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
Roughly chop the Swiss chard, discarding the rough stems. Add the Swiss chard to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
In a 12-inch saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard, peperoncini and the parsley. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano and, using a whisk, mix until the ingredients are well-blended. Add the egg mixture to the cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.
Using the remaining olive oil to lightly grease a shallow 9-inch round or oval baking dish. Dust the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the pan. Dust with the remaining Parmigiano and then the remaining bread crumbs.
Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.