Festive chard, roasted pepper and olive tart

Pepper and olive tart

Pepper and olive tart

In the wake of yesterday’s sad news, there really are no words. So I’m going to take a cue from Jaques Tati, and just not say anything. We’ve been watching lots of Tati, lately, we all love it, even the dog! It’s so full of grace and humanity and life, it feels restorative and hopeful, all about community, and friendship, and eccentric good nature.

This season is supposed to be about peace and hope, and in a small way this tart feels hopeful, because it’s like a memory of summer, bright and sweet and savory. I bought a bag of small red, gold, and orange peppers, because my sons love them, and they were so pretty I decided to bake them into a tart. I made a custard with chard and dried basil, which is tastes like summer, and topped it with pretty roasted peppers, grape tomatoes, and castelvetrano olives.

Roasted pepper and olive tart

Roasted pepper and olive tart

Here’s Red Green and Gold, by Burning Spear.

THE CRUST

1 1/2 cups flour
2 t rosemary, chopped or crumbled
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
plenty of black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, frozen
1 egg

In a large bowl combine the flour, rosemary, salt and baking soda. Grate in the butter. Mix with a fork until you have a coarse and crumb-like texture. Now break in the egg, and stir that in as well. Work with your hands until you have a pliable dough, adding just as much ice water as you need. Cover in foil and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

THE FILLING

1 medium-sized bunch of chard, soaked, rinsed, de-stemmed and chopped (about 4 cups, raw)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 t basil, dried, or a small handful of fresh
1 t oregano, dried, or a pinch of fresh
8 or 9 small red, yellow, and orange peppers, halved and de-seeded
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
1 (heaping) cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 cup (+/-) grated mozzarella cheese
salt and plenty of pepper

Preheat the oven to 400.

Arrange the pepper slices face-down on a tray. Spread the tomatoes next to them in a single layer. Broil close to the heat source for ten or fifteen minutes, until the peppers start to blacken. Place the peppers in a bowl with a plate on top, or a bowl covered with foil. Leave for fifteen or twenty minutes. Remove the peppers and peel them as much as possible. These small peppers have thin, clingy skins, so you don’t need to remove the whole lot. Set the peppers and tomatoes aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and dried herbs. Stir and fry until the garlic just starts to brown – about 1 minutes. Add the chard with water still clinging to the leaves. Stir and cook until the chard is wilted and the pan is fairly dry – 8 – 10 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, combine the ricotta, cooked chard, milk and eggs, and process until fairly smooth but with flecks of green. Stir in the mozzarella. Add a shake of salt and plenty of freshly-ground pepper.

Roll the dough to be as big as your (buttered and floured) tart pan. Spread the dough evenly in the pan, trimming the edges to fit. Slash it in two or three places with a knife or fork.

Bake the tart shell for about ten minutes till it loses it’s shine, and so that you’re sure the sides will stay up.

Pour the chard & egg mixture into the partially cooked shell. Arrange the peppers, tomatoes and olives in a pretty pattern over the top.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until the tart is puffed and golden.

Let set for five or ten minutes before slicing.

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