Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swiss Chard Custard Tart with Currant-Pine Nut Relish

And it's both delicious and gluten-free!

Over Easter, my mom had flagged this chard tart in one of the family’s favorite cookbooks, Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques (image, above). The goal was to make it gluten-free, as some family members are now avoiding it, yet the recipe called for this so-called tart to be constructed atop puff pastry. “Mom, you know we’ve made this, remember?” I cautioned. She had forgotten, and thinking back to the deliciousness that was that tart, I expressed some concern. We needed a bit more of a frittata-like tart, a la Once Upon a Tart. In a moment of brilliance (after much deliberating over recipes), Mom whipped out a Donna Hay cookbook, and one of my favorites, her spinach custard.

Now for the fun part – my adaptation, taking the best (well, what we wanted) of both recipes and then developing something hopefully successful – and delicious. I kept the chard and the pine nut relish from Goin’s recipe, and upped the egg-ricotta-crème Frâiche portion a la Hay’s recipe.

And the result? Unbelievable. It’s savory enough to act as a hearty vegetable side dish for dinner (as we served it), but being a combination of my favorite flavors – chard, mint, currants, pine nuts, onions – I, of course, had to have it for breakfast the next day, too. It would also make for a great brunch dish to serve to guests over the weekend.

Now, only if I had a picture of our updated version go along with this... 

Swiss Chard Custard Tart

For the tart:
2 pounds fresh Swiss chard
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots
5 eggs
1 pound ricotta
1/2 pound goat cheese
1/2 pound crème Frâiche
Salt, to taste

For the relish:
2 tablespoons cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced red onion
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
2/3 cup currants, soaked in hot water for at least 10 minutes
1/2 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the tart:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the chard and remove the just the leaves. Finely chiffonade/chop. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the chard and sauté until all greens are wilted. Set aside.

In a food processor, mixer, or bowl with an immersion blender (as I did for a super-smooth consistency), combine the eggs until just mixed. Add the chesses and puree until smooth. Season to taste. Add the chard to the custard and combine. Pour into greased 9x13-inch pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are beginning to turn golden.

For the relish:
While the tart bakes, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and sauté the onions first on high then turn to low until they’re lightly caramelized (more confited), about 10 minutes In a bowl, combine the onions, pine nuts, and currants and mix. In the same pan you cooked the onions, add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze then reduce the vinegar to a syrup over low heat, about 8-10 minutes. Pour over the relish mixture and stir. Add the mint and then season to taste (this is best made a day in advance so the flavors have a chance to meld, but hold off on some of the mint otherwise it will all wilt).

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with the room-temperature relish.

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