I joined a CSA this year. For those of you that are unfamiliar, CSA stands for “Community Sponsored Agriculture.” In a nut shell, city folk buy a share of a local farm and then receive produce every week from the farm in question. They’re popular in cities, where there’s far more concrete than green space and it can be taxing to find good, inexpensive produce. The first week, the veggie take was piddly and I thought we (I’m splitting a share with a friend) had made a huge mistake. But, as promised, as the growing season goes on, our weekly share is getting bigger and bigger. What’s fun and challenging about the whole set-up is that you don’t get to choose what you get—you get whatever is growing—which can mean that you have to get really really creative in order to use up all. That. Chard.
Last week I had a double share, which meant that I had a hell of a lot of leafy greens. Between the rainbow chard (omg, gorgeous!) the beet greens and the turnip greens, I had several pounds of roughage. So I did what I always do, and hit up epicurious.com for some off-the-beaten-path suggestions. After not much searching, I landed on this strange, savory-sweet pie.
As you know, I love the combination of veggies with raisins and pinenuts; it’s just another example of the sweet, salty juxtaposition that I’m always talking about. The addition of sugar to the dark leafy greens was intriguing to me since it meant that the greens themselves would be slightly sweet, instead of getting all their sweetness from the raisins, as I would expect. I think the reason I was most drawn to this recipe was the fact that it was vaguely reminiscent of my favorite moroccan dish, bastilla. Traditionally, bastillas contain a savory-sweet combination of pigeon (yes, pigeon), almonds and warm spices like cinnamon, wrapped in flaky filo and finished with powdered sugar. I’ve never been to Morocco, so I’ve only had the less heeby-jeeby–inducing chicken version, and oh man, do I love it. Similarly, this tart recipe takes distinctly savory ingredients, wraps them in pastry, sprinkles them with powdered sugar and, ultimately, walks the line somewhere between main and dessert. I was sold.
I tinkered a bit with this recipe. For starters, I used three different kinds of dark leafy greens because I didn’t have quite enough chard. Second, I used normal raisins instead of golden ones, because that’s what I had on hand. And finally, I added sauteed garlic and onions to bulk it up and add more savoriness. The final product was so strange and so addictive, I can’t even explain it. It’s sweet. I mean, not just a little sweet, but quite sweet. But….it’s savory; it’s still undeniably swiss chard and onion and garlic and unsweetened pie crust. It’s a wonderful conundrum. I can’t wait to see what my CSA makes me cook next week!
Swiss Chard, Raisin and Pine Nut Tart
Adapted from Gourmet.
This is just a delicious, awesome way to use up pounds of greens and should be in everyones recipe box. Next time, I’m adding some salty, tangy feta.
1/2 c raisins
1 c water
2 lbs rainbow chard, stems and center ribs removed and chopped (1 used 1 lb chard and 1 lb various other green things)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 lg egg, whisked
1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 T granulated sugar
1/2 t finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/3 c pine nuts, toasted
Pastry dough for a double-crust pie (I used store-bought, refrigerated crusts; lemme alone, it’s too hot for pastry!)
- Heat oven to 400ºF
- Place raisins and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside (leave the raisins in the water until you need them)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add chard leaves (not stems) and blanch ~5 min. Immediately remove leaves from boiling water and plunge in to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the leaves, squeeze the excess water out with your hands and chop the leaves. Set aside
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chopped chard stems and onion and saute ~5 min, until beginning to soften. Add the garlic and continue to cook until onions are translucent and stems are soft. Cool slightly
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, sugar, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and 1 t ground pepper
- Drain the raisins and add to the egg mixture, along with the chard, onion mixture and pine nuts. Mix
- Roll out one piece of dough so that it’s large enough to cover the bottom and sides of a 11″ x 8″ tart pan. Allow it to overhang the edges
- Fill the crust with the chard mixture
- Roll out the second piece of dough and place over tart filling. Use a rolling pin to roll over the edges of the tart, sealing them. remove the excess
- Make 4 steam vents in the top of the tart and bake for ~45 min to 1 hour, or until browned
- Eat warm or at room temp