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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Provencal Zuchinni & Swiss Chard Tart

This is a keeper - it's just so smart. Market fresh vegetables (whatever is around and growing, my farmers market is overflowing with greens & zucchini), olive oil crust (no gobs of butter....alert Vegans), and a small amount of Gruyère cheese (sorry...Vegans) to add the creamy richness that any, good, vegetable pie has.

This is another recipe clipped from one of my favorite newspaper columns, the New York Times' Recipes for Health (which first inspired this Risotto with Asparagus, Fresh Fava Beans, and Saffron adventure.) I love things that are adaptable (the perfect cardigan, white wall paint, diamond earrings) so I'm already thinking about my Autumn (squash & sage), Winter (potato & shallot), and Spring (mushroom & asparagus) versions of this tart...

As the Times mentions, this filling is too pretty to hide under a top crust. And who can pass up the brown crispy bits along the edges?

Provencal Zucchini & Swiss Chard Tart:

1 recipe whole wheat yeasted olive oil pie pastry (below)

1 pound Swiss chard
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 pounds zucchini, cut in small dice (1/4 to 1/3 inch)
2 to 3 large garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (to taste)
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
3 large eggs, beaten
Freshly ground pepper

Whole Wheat Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry:Yeasted crusts are more rustic than French-style short crusts. They’re also easier to manipulate — they don’t crack and tear. Remember to roll this out thinly so that it doesn’t become too bready.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached flour (more as needed)
3/4 teaspoon salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the sugar, and allow to sit until the mixture is creamy, about five minutes. Beat in the egg and the olive oil. Combine the flours and salt, and stir into the yeast mixture. You can use a bowl and wooden spoon for this, or a mixer — combine the ingredients using the paddle. Work the dough until it comes together in a coherent mass, adding flour as necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently for a few minutes, adding flour as necessary, just until the dough is smooth — do not overwork it. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in size, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, gently knead a couple of times, and cut into two equal pieces (or as directed in each of this week’s recipes). Shape each piece into a ball without kneading it. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for five minutes. Then roll out into thin rounds, as directed in each recipe, and line pans. If not using right away, freeze the dough to prevent it from rising and becoming too bready. The dough can be transferred directly from the freezer to the oven.

Yield: Makes enough for one 10- or 11-inch double-crusted torte or galette, or two 10-inch tarts.
Advance preparation: You can make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate. Once rolled out, the dough will keep for a month in the freezer if it’s well wrapped.

After the pastry is made start on the filling...

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem the greens, and wash them thoroughly in several rinses of water. If the ribs are wide, wash and dice them, then set aside. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water reaches a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt and the chard leaves. Blanch for one minute, until just tender. Using a slotted spoon or deep-fry skimmer, transfer to the ice water, then drain. Squeeze out excess water and chop. Set aside.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the onion and diced chard stems, if using. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Stir in the zucchini. Season to taste with salt, and cook, stirring, until just tender and still bright green, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme and rosemary, and cook with the zucchini and onion until the garlic is fragrant, about one or two minutes. Stir in the greens, toss everything together, and remove from the heat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste), the zucchini mixture, and the Gruyère. Mix everything together, add pepper, taste once more and adjust seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 10-inch tart pan. Roll out two-thirds of the dough and line the pan, with the edges of the dough overhanging. Freeze the remaining dough. Fill the lined pan with the zucchini mixture. Pinch the edges of the dough along the rim of the pan. Place in the oven and bake 50 minutes, until set and beginning to color. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving (preferably longer). This can also be served at room temperature.
Advance preparation: The blanched greens will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator in a covered bowl. The finished tart keeps for a few days in the refrigerator. Reheat gently at 275 degrees to re-crisp the crust.


  1. looks delicious! i have a soft spot for gruyere too. i helped a friend make brunch earlier today, and we served a potato/onion/goat cheese quiche that looks very similar to your tart!

  2. love this one. two blue lemons rocks the house!

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