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When my gorgeous sister-in-law Hayli and her delightful husband Tristan got married in France a couple of summers ago, Matt and I spent a week at a gîte (french farmhouse) with his family and a mad gaggle of their international friends. It was a delightful mixture of cultures, languages and food with English, French, Belgian, Irish (and one slightly befuddled American).

Each night of the week, different groups of people would cook for the whole gîte (seriously, I think there were about 40 people in all). On our night, Matt and I along with a few co-cooks made baked pastas. I think one was a creamy wild-mushroom rigatoni and the other was a cheesy tomato penne type of thing. Not fancy but cooking for 40 people in a strange kitchen is HARD. I think between shopping, prepping and baking it took about 15 hours (okay, I may be exaggerating a teeny bit but it was seriously exhausting).

The next night, it was the French friends’ turn and at 4:30 in the afternoon, they’re all still drinking rosé by the pool. “Ha”, I thought. “At this rate we’re going to have a midnight dinner of bread and cheese”. This was France so of course it would been delicious anyway. As the sun started setting, a few of the girls wandered into the kitchen and about 2 hours later called us all to a table that was covered in about 15 unbelievably lovely tarts.

mariage Tristan et Hayli 194

There were various vegetable, cheese and bacon varieties, all incredibly delicious. I vowed to try to replicate them when we got back so that was the inspiration for this tart.

This one is delicious and incredibly easy to make. It’s perfect as a dinner party first course or as a light dinner with a glass of wine. Really you could use pretty much any kind of greens you want. Kale would be great, especially Lacinato Kale. So would spinach (though I would squeeze out the extra liquid in the cooked spinach or the tart might get too wet). I also don’t use the Kale stems since they tend to stay pretty tough.

Actually the first time I made this, I used some leftover duck legs I had from from the night before, just chopped up. Hot DOG, was it good but pancetta is also fab. It would also be great without any meat as a vegetarian dish.

 

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Cut and serve!

Chard, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted but cold (or non-sweet pastry dough)
  • ¼ pound pancetta, diced small or substitute
  • 2 slices bacon, (optional)
  • 1 large Spanish or purple onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1 large bunch chard, cleaned, leaves rough chopped, stems diced small (keep leaves and stems separate)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine or vermouth
Kosher salt and pepper
  • 
1 Small log of chevre (soft Goat Cheese)
Instructions
  1. On a sheet pan, roll out puff pastry or pie dough into a rough rectangle using a rolling pin or your fingers (don't roll puff pastry too thin). Create a little ½ inch raised edge. With a fork, prick all over the dough avoiding the edges. Put back in the fridge until you're ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.
  3. If using, cook the pancetta in a saute pan until brown. Remove and set aside on paper towel. Discard all but a tablespoon of fat (or use olive oil).
  4. Add the diced chard stems and cook on medium for 2 minutes. Add the onions (with a pinch of kosher salt) and cook until soft and translucent. This can take about 10 minutes or so. Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.
  5. Add the chard leaves and toss them around to coat them with the onion mixture. Pour in the wine and let it reduce 3 or 4 minutes, while you stir the mixture. The chard leaves should be just wilted and the wine should be mostly cooked out. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Set mixture aside to cool a bit.
  6. Take pastry out of the fridge and spread the onion and chard mixture evenly on top, leaving a little room around the edge. Sprinkle the pancetta over the chard. Crumble goat cheese over the tart and bake for 12-15 minutes until the puff pastry edges are brown and the goat cheese is warm. You can broil it for a minute if you want the cheese to brown as well.

 

NERD TIPS:

Make sure your dough is good and cold before it goes in the oven. That makes the puff pastry extra crispy.

Goat Cheese is much easier to break up if it’s cold so don’t take it out of the fridge too early.

Cut the chard stems pretty small and cook them thoroughly. They’ll get deliciously tender. The leaves cook really fast.