… you open a bottle of Chardonnay! Yes, of course! But if the chard is as gorgeous as this batch I got last week:
you also need to find the perfect recipe to show it off. I could have taken the simple route and made a saute to serve over pasta or as a side dish for some juicy grilled steak. But, I am aware that hubby is not as wild about chard as I am, so other possibilities came to mind: a quiche? an open tart? a gratin? I searched for a recipe in some of my cookbooks, but as it happens so often, the internet came to the rescue. I found this recipe and knew it would be a winner. I made a few changes, taking it slightly away from Greece and closer to Italy, to accommodate the ingredients I had around.
GOLDEN CHARD PIE
(adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe)
2 pounds Golden chard, stemmed
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh herbs of your liking (I used basil and lemon thyme)
3 large eggs, beaten
4 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
black pepper and salt to taste
dash of ground nutmeg
12 sheets of phyllo
olive oil spray
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the stemmed chard and blanch for 1 minute. Transfer the leaves quickly to a bowl with ice water. Drain and squeeze well. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and saute the diced onion until it just starts to get some color. Add the chard, herbs, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Saute for a couple of minutes, remove from heat and allow it to cool.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the ricotta cheese, mix to incorporate, add the saute chard mixture.
Spray a 10-inch baking dish with olive oil, layer 7 sheets of phyllo over the dish, allowing part of the sheets to hang outside (see photos). Spray each sheet with a little olive oil as you place it in the pan.
Add the filling, fold the hanging bits of phyllo over it, then cover the pie with 5 more sheets of phyllo, always remembering to spray some olive oil in between the layers. Tuck the edges into the sides of the pie.
Spray olive oil on the surface, cut 3 or 4 small slits to allow steam to escape.
Bake the pie at 375 F for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Some photos of the pie “in the making”
I added a little bit of green chard from our own backyard, as it was begging to be harvested.
You do need to stem the chard for this recipe, so take the time to do it as you place the water to boil.
Layer the sheets of phyllo and place the filling inside, then cover the whole thing with more phyllo sheets.
A very nice side dish for pork tenderloin with coconut and peanut sauce!
With a well chilled Chardonnay to brighten the dinner…. 😉
General observations: this dish is “weeknight friendly” if you sautee the chard the day before. Remember to place the box of phyllo in the fridge early in the morning. When you arrive from work, turn the oven on, beat the eggs, add the cheese, chard mix, and you are basically done.
I had never used olive oil in spray form with phyllo dough, and it was absolutely great! No mess, no tearing the delicate sheets. Will definitely be using this method from now on.
Leftovers were wonderful next day, even when submitted to torture in the microwave at work.