We all get a bit stuck in our comfort zone and when scaning through new recipes, I must admit I have a tendency to stick to the familiar, so I nearly bypassed this Ottolenghi recipe I found when looking for a new way of using up chard. For a start it was called Swiss Chard and Herb Tart with Young Cheese, and I knew for sure that I did not have any “young cheese” lying around in my fridge, nor was I very likely to be able to get hold of any very easily in the culinary void of Wimbledon. Secondly, I wasn’t sure about the mint. I am always a little wary of cooking mint. I little too much and it can end up tasting like toothpaste. I wasn’t sure about the quantities of the ingredients – follow the net weights not the descriptions. 8 large chard leaves turned out to be a whole bag of chard from Riverford. And finally I didn’t have any courgette flowers – too early in the year for my allotment. But I decided to make it anyway and I am really pleased that I did. It is absolutely delicious, even without the courgette flowers. For the young cheese, I used a Abergavenny goat’s cheese that I found in Sainsbury’s.
Swiss chard and herb tart with young cheese
Adapted from Yotem Ottolenghi. Serves four as a main course.
½ small red onion, thinly sliced (85g net)
3 celery stalks and leaves, thinly sliced (220g net)
8 large chard leaves, roughly chopped, white stalks discarded (175g net)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp torn mint leaves
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped sage
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
75g feta, crumbled
50g pecorino, finely grated
15g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Grated zest of 1 lemon
350g all-butter puff pastry, I used ready rolled
100g brocciu cheese (fresh cheese) or ricotta or fresh goat’s cheese
6 Courgette flowers, cut in half length-ways (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and black pepper
Place a large frying pan on medium-high heat and sauté the onion, celery, chard, garlic, mint, parsley and sage in the olive oil. Cook, stirring continuously, for 15 minutes or until the greens are wilted and the celery has softened completely. Remove from the heat and stir through the feta, pecorino, pine nuts, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a hearty grind of black pepper. Leave aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Roll the pastry, if necessary to a 3mm thick sheet and cut it into a circle, approximately 30cm in diameter. Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spread the filling out on the pastry leaving a 3 centimetre edge all the way around. Dot the filling with large chunks of brocciu, ricotta or fresh goat’s cheese. Top with courgette flowers, if using. Bring the pastry up around the sides of the filling and pinch the edges together firmly to form a secure, decorative lip over the edge of the tart. Alternatively press with the end of a fork. Brush the pastry with egg and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Bake the tart in the oven for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked on the base. Remove from the oven and brush with a little olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.