Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Savory tart centerpiece of vegetarian meal

Photographs ©2014,  Lori Korleski Richardson
Now that we're back from vacation, it's time to get back to the gym and start eating better.

One way to make sure we get the variety of vegetables that are the key to good health is to have at least one vegetarian meal a week.

Tonight's was a savory chard and onion tart, with a side of carrot salad on a bed of arugula.

I made the tart in a 10-inch spring-form pan for easier serving (it also looks good enough to serve to company that way, especially decorated with nasturtiums from your herbicide-free garden. The cheery salad is a simple and delicious Alice Waters creation that depends in large part on the freshness of the carrots, parsley and lemon, and the quality of the olive oil.

Savory chard and onion tart

Ingredients for crust
1 ¾ cups flour
pinch kosher salt
1 stick (4 ounces) frozen unsalted butter, grated into small curls
Ice water

Instructions for crust
Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl and grate in the frozen butter; mix with two knives or a pastry blender until texture resembles stone-ground cornmeal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water, mixing with a fork, until the dough comes together. You may need to add another tablespoon or two. Handle dough as little as possible, form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and place in a 10-inch spring-form pan or 9-inch tart pan. The dough sides need to be at least an inch deep. Refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Ingredients for filling
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large finely chopped onion
1 pound chard, stems removed, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces chèvre or ricotta
¼ cup evaporated milk or cream
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (or to taste)
Dash cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Instructions for filling and assembly
Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat, then add the onion and cook until it is soft and golden, add the chard, oregano, salt and pepper, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool as you preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the eggs, cheeses, milk or cream and nutmeg, then add the cooled chard-onion mixture. Pour into the crust, sprinkle with the nuts and bake 45 minutes. Serves 4 as an entree, 8 as a side dish and 16 as an appetizer.

Alice Water's Spring Salad
Serves 2

1/2 pound of carrots, peeled and shredded
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon white sea salt or kosher salt
Juice of one lemon
¼ teaspoon cayenne or paprika
¾ cup good quality olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley

Put the carrots in a mixing bowl. Mash the garlic and the salt into a paste. Mix it with the lemon juice and any spices you are using. Toss with olive oil; add parsley at end. Chill.