Sunday, July 31, 2016

Savory Summer Galette with Ricotta, Vine-Ripened Tomatoes & Swiss Chard

We have been enjoying evening meals that feature Swiss chard at least once a week this summer.  The chard at the farmers' market has been so beautiful that I have not been able to pass it up.  I guess it's a good thing that chard is so versatile.  Besides being a simple and delicious side dish that compliments almost any protein you might want to pair it with (salmon, lamb, chicken...just to name a few...), it makes a fine addition to a pilaf or a frittata or a quiche.  It can also be the star of the meal in a ricotta gnocchi.  And of course I love it folded into a pasta.   If you saw my post from earlier this month, you know it makes a pretty great addition to a lasagne, too. 

As versatile as it is though, I don't often think of chard as being an "easy" green vegetable.  This is probably due to the fact that it takes up lots of space in the fridge...and then it shrinks dramatically when it's cooked.  Furthermore, it has to be thoroughly rinsed in lots of water...which is kind of messy...and also takes up a lot of space.  It doesn't require quite the same effort as spinach or kale because it doesn't tend to be quite so embedded with sand and grit, but it can be pretty dirty.  I would never cook it without first giving it a good rinse or two in a big bowl...or sink full...of water.  But, once it is trimmed and cleaned, it cooks to tenderness very quickly (much more quickly than kale, for example).  And of course, it tastes delicious. When it comes down to it, it is totally worth the little bit of extra work that it requires. 

Even so, since I have already posted one thing this month that includes chard, I wondered if posting another would be too much.  As I was considering this, I happened to fall into a conversation after one of my classes with someone who follows my blog.  When I told her about the tart—and said that I was thinking of posting the recipe—she commented that she would look forward to it...that everyone who has a CSA membership is always looking for new recipes that use Swiss chard.  I hadn't thought about this, but it's true...Midwestern CSA's are almost always filled with hearty greens like chard (and spinach and kale).  So... this post is for those of you who have opened up your CSA share and discovered yet another big, beautiful, bunch of chard.  (You can find lots of other ideas by browsing through the many other recipes I have posted using chard over the years.)

A friend of mine has been traveling in the south of France this summer...and her pictures have made me long to be in what is one of my favorite places in the world.  So it is probably not a coincidence that I thought to make this tart one evening: the flavors in it remind me of Provence.  Chard is abundant there....and it goes beautifully with the vibrant flavor of vine-ripened summer tomatoes and the briny black olives.  It is in fact a very Provençal dish...both in its style and its combination of flavors.  The tart is delicious right out of the oven.  But on a hot summer day, you can let it cool to room temperature before serving.  Then, if you serve it with a small fluff of lightly dressed greens...or simple vegetable salad... and enjoy it on your shady patio or deck along with a nice chilled glass of Rosé...  It is possible that you might feel like you have been transported...just for a the south of France. 

Provençal Swiss Chard & Summer Tomato Galette

1 recipe Pâte Brisée (see below)
3/4 lb. vine ripened tomatoes
2 T. olive oil
1 small red onion (4 to 5 oz), diced
A generous pinch hot pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bunch Swiss Chard, stemmed, cut into a wide chiffonade and rinsed well (6 to 7 oz. trimmed weight)
1 c. (240 g.) Whole milk ricotta cheese
1 T. olive oil
2 t. flour
Salt & Pepper
1/4 c. (40 g.) pitted Kalamatas, halved
2 oz. (55 g.) freshly grated Parmesan 

To roll out the dough, let it warm up for a moment or two at room temperature. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle that is about 1/8-inch thick and is about 15 to 16 inches across. Brush off the excess flour. Trim any ragged or uneven edges if you like. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Wash and core the tomatoes.  Using a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes 1/4-inch thick and spread out on a double thickness of paper towel. Sprinkle the tomatoes evenly with salt and let them sit for about 20 minutes so they can give up some of their liquid. When you are ready to build the tart, blot the tomatoes with paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.

While the tomatoes sit, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onions along with a generous pinch of salt.  Cook gently until the onions are tender and translucent and beginning to caramelize a bit (10 to 20 minutes).  Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes 

and continue to cook until fragrant.  Begin adding the chard to the pan a handful at a time, turning it to coat in the olive oil and onions as you add it.  Add another handful as each successive handful begins to collapse.  When all the chard has been added to the pan, cover and cook over very low heat until tender (about 10 minutes).  Uncover and increase the heat a bit and continue to cook until any remaining liquid has evaporated (another five minutes or so).  Taste and correct the seasoning with salt & pepper. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. 

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the olive oil, flour and salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside.  

To build the tart, spread the cheese mixture in a circle in the center of the chilled pâte brisée, leaving a 1 1/2- to 2-inch border of dough. Arrange half of the chard over the cheese 

and top with 2/3 of the blotted tomatoes.  Scatter half of the olives 

and half of the cheese over all.  Repeat these layers with the remaining ingredients. 

Pull up the edges of the crust and gently flip them over the filling to form a rustic edge. Pleat the dough as necessary, pressing lightly into place.

Bake the tart in a 400° oven on the lowest rack (or in the middle with the sheet pan sitting directly on a preheated baking stone). Bake until the filling is bubbling in spots, the tomatoes are puckered slightly, the cheese is melted and tinged with brown, and the crust is crisp and golden brown—about 40 to 45 minutes. Slide the tart onto a rack and let rest for 5 minutes (or cool until just tepid) before serving.

Tart serves 6 to 8.
Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry)

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (200g)
1/2 t. salt
10 1/2 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (150g)
1/4 to 1/3 c. ice water

Combine the flour and the salt in a medium-sized bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the butter is in small pea-sized pieces. Drizzle 3 T. ice water over the flour/butter mixture. Using your hands, fluff the mixture until it begins to clump, adding more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto a counter and form into a mound. Using the heel of your hand, gradually push all of the dough away from you in short forward strokes, flattening out the lumps. Continue until all of the dough is flat. Using a bench scraper, scrape the dough off the counter, forming it into a single clump as you do. Form the finished dough into a thick disk. Chill for at least 30 minutes.


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