Spotlight on Savory: Chard and Cheese Tart with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Crust

by Irvin on June 4, 2012 · 6 comments

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Due to circumstances beyond my control (and aren’t all “circumstances” always beyond our control?) I found myself not confirming that I could go to a dinner party that I very much wanted to attend. It was the annual “Sub-Zero” dinner with AJ’s cycling group, the day before the day before they took off to cycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money to fight AIDS (the day before the ride is called Day Zero, thus two days before is Sub-Zero). When I finally realized that I could rearrange my schedule to attend, the group told me that dishes were already assigned. My usual go-to position as “dessert guy” was taken up by others, which meant I had one of two choices. Bring garlic bread (ho-hum) or a vegetable side dish. I contemplate baking bread for the garlic bread, but since I recently had to create a new sourdough starter (as my last one died) whatever bread I made wouldn’t have as deep a flavor as I would have liked. The obvious choice was a vegetable side dish and though AJ suggested our basic go-to roasted vegetable dish, I decided to cheat and use my baking skills. I brought to the party a couple of Chard and Cheese Tarts with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Crust.

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AJ and I had been running around all over San Francisco trying to do last minute shopping and errand running before AJ’s ride. One of the errands had me in the neighborhood of one of my favorite bookstore, where I had a little bit of used credit burning a hole in my pocket. A quick jaunt into the store had me leaving with a book that I have been wanting for awhile, but I just haven’t gotten around to getting, Tender by Nigel Slater. I already had the companion book Ripe, which was warm, gorgeous, and utterly charming and had been wanting to get Tender ever since I had seen a copy of it sitting on my friend Sabrina’s bookshelf.

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I, of course, am behind the times as well, as Tender had come out last year around this time and I’m sure you already have it (if you don’t, go get it now). Tender focuses on vegetables and what to do with them in the garden and in the kitchen, while it’s companion piece Ripe is about fruit instead. Each volume is a beautiful telephone book thick (does anyone still have telephone books?) tome, filled with lush photographs and approachable recipes. As I flipped through my new acquisition, I stumble across the idea of a chard tart and I was smitten because, despite what this blog might imply, I don’t live on cake, pie and cookies alone. I adore chard.

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Truth be told, I’m not sure where Swiss & Rainbow Chard has been all my life. I had only discovered its existence a few years ago, when it seemed to pop up at the grocery store, farmer’s market and everyone’s CSA. In fact, at this point, I feel like Swiss Chard is bordering on the edge of popularity like kale, the most over exposed leafy green in food blogger history. Thankfully I did not succumb to the seduction of the kale chip, and you will not find any kale chip recipes on this blog. But you will find me waxing poetically about Rainbow Chard, with their deep forest green leaves, and vibrant colored stems that seem almost unnaturally Crayola bright. Like a bird, I find myself attracted to bright shiny things and every time I see the pink, green, red and yellow stemmed bunch at the store, I find myself putting it in my basket and wondering what the heck do I do with it? Usually it involves chopping it up and throwing it in whatever soup I’m having.

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Thankfully the combination of Nigel Slater’s book Tender, and the fact that I had to bring a vegetable instead of my usual dessert led me to this tart. True, many people at the party referred to it as a quiche, and yes, you can probably call it that, but in my mind, the quiche has more of an egg to crust ratio. This tart is shallow, with a thin layer of binding egg, cheese and cream, but with a generous filling of chard, green onions and green garlic. Either way, people seemed enamored with it, taking seconds (and in some cases thirds) of the tart. Thankfully, I had the forethought to make two of them.

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The party itself was fantastic fun. Wonderful people, all getting ready for the ride, or there to support the riders, food galore, and at least five desserts, including a chocolate cake, carrot cake and an apple cobbler. The host, Robert, clearly wasn’t kidding when he said that dessert was covered. Of course, along with my tart, I had also brought along a dessert that I was testing out (that turned out quite nice). But that’s a post for another time. In the meanwhile, I wish AJ luck as he travels down to LA this week, missing him dearly, and anxiously awaiting our reunion in a week from now.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar June 4, 2012 at 5:12 am

What a fabulous tart! I agree, quiches are filled with eggs and I looove this TART! :)

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Belinda @zomppa June 4, 2012 at 6:25 am

What a lovely kick-off! Sounds like a key book to have…that tart is simple delectable!

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Brian @ A Thought For Food June 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

First of all, I’m sending good wishes out to AJ… this is such a great thing he’s doing. And this kick-off party (along with this tart) looks freakin’ fabulous!

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Joan Nova June 4, 2012 at 9:57 am

Coincidentally, I posted a similar recipe today with artichokes and chard. It sure is a crowd-pleaser, isn’t it? Yours is beautifully done and presented.

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Lauren | Sweet Splendor June 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

I’ve never made a tart before but this is HIGH on my to-do list. I might have to start with this one since it looks so freakin’ good!

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Jen @ Savory Simple June 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

This tart looks amazing. Your photos are so beautiful!

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