7.19.12 Odds & Ends
In an effort to neither waste nor want, I felt the need to devise a recipe for all the chard stems knocking about my kitchen these days. Great green plumes of chard with bright yellow stems are proliferating in our garden, and I love to eat them simply sauteed in lots of good olive oil with garlic and red chile, and maybe a few raisins and pine nuts tossed in. This is so silky in the mouth and tastes like Italian chlorophyll. The stems—crisper and rougher—are usually chucked into the compost pile, though this is sacrilege to the legions of fans who like them stirred into mashed potatoes and buckwheat pancakes, baked in gratins, simply roasted and even pickled. I don't do much baking, as you know, but of late I've had a bee in my bonnet about making a galette—one of those free-form rustic tarts that basically scream farmhouse chic. This simple dough can be wrapped around anything from wild nettles to fresh peaches with a perfectly French insouciance.
After eating a big bowl of the aforementioned sauteed chard for brunch on Sunday, I was left with an equally large pile of stems which I wrapped in a paper towel and popped into the vegetable drawer of my fridge (where, thankfully, they did not molder forgotten into the usual pile of mystery slime). I withdrew them yesterday with the galette in mind and made short work of it.
I sauteed the stems with some garlic, shallots, fennel seeds and a splash of verjus and spread them onto a buttery dough with a few anchovies, some Gruyère and a bit of Parmesan. Verjus? you say. It's the juice of unripe grapes—a tart and sprightly condiment, something between wine and vinegar. Try some here.
Don't stress about the galette dough. It's extremely forgiving. I used this gluten-free flour mix and although the dough seemed wet and kept falling apart, it actually emerged quite crispy and delicious. It needs to chill for at least an hour before you roll it out, so bear that in mind if you want to make this recipe. I made the dough first, then left it in the fridge while I prepared the filling.
The chard stems have an earthy flavor that stands up nicely to the rich, salty anchovies and cheese. Instead of Parmesan, you can use pecorino or any other sharp aged cheese. Substitute a little pancetta or bacon for the anchovies, if you prefer. And instead of chard stems, try almost any assertive greens—kale, beet tops, even cabbage. This versatile recipe lets you make the most of whatever you've got.
Chard Stem Galette
- — galette dough for one 10" tart (see Note)
- — 2 tablespoons olive oil
- — 3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- — 1 large clove garlic, minced
- — 3 cups chopped chard stems
- — 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- — 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- — 2 tablespoons verjus
- — 3 oil-preserved anchovies, halved lengthwise
- — 1/2 cup grated Gruyère
- — 3/4 cup grated Sicilian pecorino
- — spicy pimentón
- — 1 egg
- — 1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over a medium-high flame and add shallots. Saute until translucent, then add garlic, chard stems, fennel pollen, pimentón and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add verjus. Keep cooking and stirring until chard stems are tender, about another 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in half the Parmesan and set aside.
Roll out chilled galette dough into a 12" round and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread chard stem mixture over dough, leaving a 1-2" border. Lay anchovies over the top, then the Gruyere. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top.
Working around the circle of dough, fold the filling-free edge up and over to make a shell around the filling. Whisk the egg with the milk and brush evenly over the crust.
Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven until deeply golden brown, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedge; also delicious at room temp.
Note: Use any recipe for a basic galette or rustic tart dough. I like the one in Chez Panisse Vegetables.