On New Year's Eve, my friend Kay (my oldest and dearest) came up to spend the night, cook, watch "Rocky Horror Picture Show" (which I'd never seen).
She opted to make a dish from Better Homes and Gardens magazine: "Rustic Swiss Chard and Mozzarella Tart." (At the site, you'll have to sign in to see the recipe).
It was delicious! And, I thought, could be even better with a little futzing here and there. So tonight I engaged in said futzing. Result? Magnifique! (If I do say so myself. Although I hasten to add that I started with a good recipe.)
Essentially this is a galette, which I typically make in the summer with fresh fruit. I have to admit that I'd not thought about the possibilities of a savory galette, but hey! Now that that I have, well, yeah, baby! (That link to the Wikipedia entry for galette is a bit limited. See this for a better image and recipe.)
Basically the recipe consists of cooked vegetables spooned onto a round of pastry. Fold the pastry and bake. Voila! (See commentary about pastry below.)
- 1-1/4 c. flour
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/2 c. (one stick) unsalted butter, very cold/frozen
- 1/4 c. ice water
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard (you could use kale or spinach)
- 1 c. chopped onion (see note below)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- half pound of mushrooms, sliced
- handful of Kalamata or other brined olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 t. dry thyme
- 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella (see note below)
Pastry: This is not rocket science. All you're doing is mixing butter and flour using either your fingers or a machine. The main thing is not to overdo it. Don't worry if you see butter bits in the dough. No problem. If you're persnickety about it, after you've added the water and made a "dough," put it on the counter and use the heel of your hand to mush the butter deeper into the flour. But really, it's not necessary. The "trick," such as it is, is to make sure you add enough water. Most recipes say to add a couple of tablespoons. Trust me: that's not enough. A quarter cup does it.
The onion: the original recipe called for leeks, which are so expensive. So. Expensive. So I just chopped an onion. But I had some shallots, so I also diced two of those.
The mozzarella: the original recipe called for "mozzarella." I decided to try some fresh mozzarella, along with some provolone I had in the fridge. Worked fine.
Make the pastry: Whisk the flour and salt together. Cut the butter into bits. Using your fingers (or a food processor, if you have one), cut/mix/meld the butter and flour. The usual recipe calls for "pea-sized bits" -- but really, just mix the stuff. Add the ice water and use your fingers to mix all of it into a dough. Flatten it into a circular disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the frig for an hour or more. (If you're using a food processor, google for some tips. I've never made it with anything other than my hands.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
De-vein the chard and chop the leaves. Heat some olive oil in a large pan (a 12" if you have one). Add the mushrooms and cook them over high heat for three or four minutes. Add the onion and cook another minute or two. Add the garlic and ditto. Add the chard and olives and some salt and pepper. (Be careful with the salt. If you're using brined olives, they add plenty.)
Cook till the chard is more or less wilted. I left the pan on the heat for several minutes more so as to cook off the water.
Let the mixture cool for five or ten minutes and add the cheese and, using a large fork, toss gently to mix.
Flour a work surface and your rolling pin. Unwrap your dough and have at it. Don't worry if it's not a perfect circle. You're aiming for a twelve inch circular piece of dough, more or less. If it's too sticky, put more flour on your pin and the surface.
Move the dough to a baking sheet, preferably one lined with parchment paper. You can grease the sheet, but parchment paper is so much easier.
Using a large spoon, move the chard mixture from the pan onto the center of your dough, leaving at least a two-inch border of dough. Then fold the dough over the filling, leaving the center open and exposed, pleating the dough as you go.
Into the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. (Took 32 minutes in my oven, which runs a bit fast.)