Rustic Swiss Chard Tart

This recipe is a great way to use fresh Swiss chard and herbs from your garden or local farmer's market. In fact, because I'm only growing a small amount of Swiss chard this year, I took a trip to the farmer's market in Summit, NJ to pick up an additional bunch to supplement what I grew in my garden for this recipe. I like this market because it has a good variety of not only farmers with eggs and produce, but also local artisans who sell cheeses, breads, sweet baked goods, vegan specialties, plants, wool items from alpacas, beeswax, honey, and more. I also like it because it's open on Sundays. I find it hard to get to the market locally during the week with a full-time job outside of NJ. I was also able to pick up Tewksbury cheese from one of my favorites, Valley Shepherd Creamery, at the market to use for this dish. This is similar to a Gruyère, which is tasty and great for melting in recipes like this. (I also like that this cheese has the same name of a great town and bike trip we like to take.)

This recipe is easy to make without worrying about crafting the perfect-looking tart. Nothing I make is ever very "dainty" so this fits in with my normal repertoire. You can make the tart dough ahead of time or use it right away. No need to necessarily chill the dough first, but if you find it's too difficult to work with right away, just wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. Like most of my recipes, there's a lot of flexibility in your choices. I chose a tart crust recipe to go with this from The Gardener's Supply Company, but this could be made however you want. If you have an entirely whole wheat recipe you like, use that. If you're on a gluten-free diet and have a recipe that works for you, go for it. The food you cook should nurture you and satisfy you. Put yourself first when it comes to your health and your nutritional goals. There's no reason you can't alter any recipe out there.

Tart Crust Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick (8 TBSP) of unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
Fresh or dried herbs of your choosing (I used 1 TBSP chopped fresh savory and 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme)

Tart Ingredients

2 TBSP olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs of Swiss chard, ribs & stems removed. Finely chop about 1 cup of the stems to add to the tart.
3 large eggs
1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup of crème fraîche
4 oz of Gruyère cheese, grated (keep your local artisanal cheese maker in mind for an alternative - ask them if they have something similar to Gruyère)
1/4 cup of pine nuts
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Tart Crust Directions

  1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly butter a 9" spring form pan.
  3. In a food processor, blend the white & whole-wheat flours and salt. If adding herbs to your dough, add them in at this time and pulse a few times to blend well.
  4. With the food processor running, add one cube of butter at a time until the mixture is course like cornmeal with a few pea-sized pieces.
  5. Turn off the food processor and add the yogurt.
  6. Pulse a few times until blended into a ball of dough.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, knead and fold the dough together so it's cohesive. 
  8. Roll the dough out into a circular shape until it's about 1/8 thick.
  9. Place the dough in the pan, and prick the bottom a few times with a fork.
  10. Line the dough with aluminum foil weighted with dried beans or pie weights.
  11. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until it's set, but not browned.
  12. Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.

Tart directions

  1. Toast the pine nuts over medium heat in a small pan for a few minutes, tossing throughout to get even toasting. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan and cook the shallots for about 2 minutes or until translucent. 
  3. Add the garlic to the shallots and cook for about 1 minute.
  4. In the same pan, add the chopped Swiss chard ribs and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened.
  5. Add the chard leaves to the pan and cover for 3-4 minutes to let the leaves wilt.
  6. Remove the shallot/garlic/Swiss chard mix from the heat and move the contents to a large bowl. Mix with cheese and pine nuts.
  7. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the crème fraîche and yogurt and blend all 3 ingredients together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Fill the tart with the vegetable/cheese/pine nut mixture and spread out evenly.
  9. Pour the egg/cream mixture over the tart evenly.
  10. Bake the tart for 30-40 minutes or until set.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  12. Remove from pan and serve at room temperature.

I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).

I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)

This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.

In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself. 

With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix  DMC-ZS15 compact camera.) 

I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.    

Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!

- Catherine