21 January 2010

Swiss Chard and Artichoke Tart

I am playing a game with myself: how long can I keep going this year without repeating myself, in culinary terms? (I exclude cold, uncooked food such as sandwiches or raw fruit.) So when I unpacked a lovely bunch of Swiss chard from my vegetable box this week, I dismissed all thoughts of my usual ways of cooking it and sought inspiration for something new. In an Italian Cookbook I came across a Torta di biete e carciofi. Naturally, there had to be a few adjustments, I added pine nuts for extra crunch and feta cheese, which I think complements Swiss chard ever so well. The olive oil based pastry was new to me, lovely to work with and crunchy when warm but it does not compare to ordinary short crust when cold, so I think this tart needs to be eaten straight from the oven.

Swiss Chard and Artichoke Tart
500 g flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp Olive Oil
250 ml cold water

Mix the above and knead until you have a smooth dough. Cover and leave to rest while you prepare the filling.

1 onion
500 g Swiss Chard
500 g of artichokes (tinned)
100 g feta cheese
parmigiano, fresh herbs (optional)
50 g pine nuts

Finely chop the onion and sweat off in olive oil. Wash and cut the Swiss chard, and add to the pan. Drain the artichokes, add to the pan and increase the heat so that unnecessary moisture will be cooked off. Mix Feta, parmigiano and pine nuts with the vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and fresh herbs, if you like.
Roll out 2/3 of the pastry and line a springform with it, cover the bottom with breadcrumbs - these will absorb moisture and prevent a soggy bottom. Add the folling, press down and roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid. I found the pastry extremely pliable, it lends itself well to nice decorations. Brush pastry with olive oil and cook at 200 C for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 190 and cook a further 40 minutes. Serve hot!

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