Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lucy Burdette’s Chard Tart

We have a close neighbor who neither gardens nor cooks, but she’s very good at appreciating what we produce at our house. In fact, she’s given us a couple of packets of heirloom seeds from an event she attends each year celebrating farm food. The heirloom tomatoes were out of this world. This year we planted seeds for chard and the green beans. The chard has been stunning, but it’s one of those vegetables where a little goes a long way. I make a recipe from Diet for a Small Planet called “cheesy chard,” but we’d gotten a little tired of it. Then I saw a recipe for a chard tart in the Joy of Cooking. Chard tart. It’s not a sexy-sounding recipe, but when we were finally overrun with greens, I decided to give it a whirl. Naturally, I tweaked. And I promise you, it was delicious!

I don’t own the kind of tart pan the recipe called for, so I used a plain old 9 inch Pyrex pie pan. And then I made my usual crust, which is easy as “pie”—you’ll find the recipe here. This time I replaced one cup of the white flour with King Arthur white whole wheat, and replaced the vegetable oil with olive oil. The whole thing came out very well—a little more hearty and nutty than usual, which stood up nicely to the chard. Refrigerate the crust while you make the rest of the dish.

Ingredients for the filling:

One large bunch chard, washed well, woody stems removed, and chopped
One onion, chopped
4 or 5 leaves fresh basil, or to taste (don’t skip this—it adds a nice flavor)
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk or half and half
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the onion until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the chard and cover, cook until tender. This could take another 8 minutes. Chop the basil, and add that to the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the milk. Then mix in the cooked vegetables and finally the cheese.

Scrape the filling into the unbaked crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375, until the filling is set. You may need to cover the edges of the pastry with foil if it’s browning too fast.

I made this twice, just to be sure, the second time using beet greens in place of half of the chard. It tasted fine but the beets gave the mixture a muddy reddish color which wasn’t quite so attractive. The J of C suggests serving this at room temperature, but go ahead and eat it warm if you can’t wait.

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, filled with delicious foods and a foodie mystery, will be published on September 4, but you can preorder now!

And please follow her on Twitter @lucyburdette, and "like" her on Facebook.


  1. I'm definitely saving this one. I love chard and I love the changes you made in the pie crust.
    And I'm really looking forward to Death in Four Courses. It's preordered for my Kindle so I'll have it when I get up on 9/4.

  2. Lucy, you know I love quiche and this looks delish. And can't wait for your next book. I loved the first!


    Daryl aka Avery

  3. This sounds delicious and I have chard in the garden. Will make some for Saturday tea! Thanks. :)

  4. Thanks so much for the kind words! Hope you all enjoy the tart-it's one of those recipes that looks too healthy to be good, but even my hub raved about it. (Course he loves it when I take pix of his dinner-to-be--he knows then that it's good enough for this blog:)

  5. I love chard. I think it's one of those unsung vegetables that's really great but is always trumped by the much more familiar spinach. Your tart looks fabulous, Lucy!

    ~ Krista

  6. I have to confess I've never even tried chard. {hanging head in kitchen shame} ... but this sounds delicious. Thank you for demystifying this green for me, Lucy!

  7. Looks and sounds delicious.
    I have two copies of Diet for a Small Planet, copyright 1971 and 1975 (revised version) but I can't find any recipe for cheesy chard. Is your copy a newer one with this added in?

  8. Hey Libby, I told you the wrong name, that's why you couldn't find it:(. It's in RECIPES FOR A SMALL PLANET, p 144--mine is from 1973!

    Basically here's the recipe: cook 3/4 c brown rice in 1 and 1/2 cups water. (This can be done ahead.) Saute one chopped onion in olive oil, adding a chopped garlic clove if you wish. when the onions are soft, add the cooked rice. On top of the rice, add 1 bunch cleaned, chopped spinach or chard or other greens. Cover and cook on low until the greens are wilted. Then add 1/3 cup or more grated cheese and cook until that's melted. (I use cheddar and more of it!) Mix it all together with soy sauce or tamari to taste.

    It's really quite delicious! My hub is no vegetarian but he always enjoys cheesy chard. Glad you asked Libby!