October, 2007

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Green Herb Tart
Oct 29th, 2007



See this recipe calls itself a tart, and even calls for a tart pan. Scary! And yet it got itself made by virtue of having alternate instructions for baking in a pie dish. And look how pretty! Although my crappy picture might not show it, this was probably the prettiest thing that has come out of my kitchen in a long while.

It was also the answer to the age-old question: what to do with a fridge full of far too many bags of random greens that keep arriving in my vegetable box and refuse to clean or cook themselves.

I used the dough recipe from Deborah Madison's book, but it's just your basic olive oil pizza dough recipe. The recipe calls for a specific combination of greens and herbs, but just use whatever you have or looks good in the store that day. I think I ended up using beet greens, kale, spinach, basil, and some random herbs from my garden. And I chopped that kale to bits and cooked it to death because I hate big stringy pieces of tough greens. No worry here though, as all my violent hacking and boiling took care of that nasty kale.

The taste of the filling is very mild - you could substitute feta for the Gruyere for a sharper taste, but if going with the original be sure to put in enough salt as the final baking seemed to mellow the salt a bit and I wished I'd put in just a tiny bit more.

This isn't a quick recipe by any means (ugghh is there anything more time consuming and thankless than cleaning multiple heads of straight-from-the-mud greens?) but really worth the effort. The leftovers keep really well and make for great lunches - either rewarmed in the oven or microwave, or served at room temperature.


Green Herb Tart

Yeasted Pastry for a Double-Crust Tart
2 bunches chard, or chard and beet greens to make 12 to 16 cups chopped leaves
2 tbsp butter
2 to 3 ounces sorrel leaves, 1 to 1/2 cups, if available
2 bunches scallions, including half the greens, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped arugula
2 tbsp chopped basil
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 cup ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg


Make the dough and set it aside to rise.

Meanwhile, chop the chard into bite-size pieces and wash. Melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chard with the water clinging to its leaves, or as much as will fit, sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, and cook, turning as it wilts, until it has cooked down and is tender. If the pan becomes dry, add a few tablespoons water, as needed.

Heat the remaining butter in a medium skillet. Add the scallions, sorrel, arugula, and basil, and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add them to the cooked chard and taste for salt and season with pepper.

Beat the ricotta, all but 2 tbsp of the beaten eggs, and milk until smooth, then stir in the cheeses and greens. Taste for salt and season with pepper and the nutmeg.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, preheat the oven to 375°F. Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll one piece out no thicker than 1/8 inch and drape it over an 11-inch tart pan with a removeable rim, or shallow pie plate. Ease the dough into th eedges of the pan without stretching and trim the edge so that it's a little larger than the pan. Add the filling. Roll out the second piece of dough and cut out a circle the same size as the surface of the tart. Place it right on the filling, then fold the longer piece of dough over it. Crimp the edges. Using the tip of a paring knife, score the top of the tart in a crisscross design without cutting through the dough. Brush it with the reserved egg.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the top crust is well browned. Carefully remove the rim, then return the tart to the oven for 10 minutes more to brown and crisp the edges. Let cool for 10 mintues, then transfer to a platter. Serve warm or tepid.

-Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
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