I started watching a Masterpiece Theater version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray the other day, while I was exercising. (I jump around the living room holding two cans of beans while I catch up with The Daily Show on the computer. Isaac thinks this is hilarious! “You’re holding two cans of beans!!”) I love late Victorian novels – they’re so well-crafted and beautifully novelly. It was pretty well-done. It had Prince Caspian in it, and Mr. Darcy! And some guy named Ben who was familiar. It was a little dark and gloomy for early-morning-exercise-viewing. It had a lot of shocking Victorian nudity. (Masterpiece Theater wasn’t like that when I was a lass! When I was a lass, characters from televised versions of literary classics had the decency to keep their oddly-eighties-looking costumes on, thank you very much!!) When I thought about how cranky I was yesterday, but how I wouldn’t write about that part of the day, I had an idea for a modern version of Dorian Gray. What if there was somebody who had one of those mommy-blogs, or an advice column about parenting. What if they talked about their own lives in glowing, unrealistic terms. And then…all of the bad stuff they don’t write about manifests itself doubly in their real lives, until they all descend into a spiralling vortex of depravity and despair!! Bom bom bommmmmmmmmm.
So! This tart! I was quite excited about it. I had thought of having a tart with a base of chard and goat cheese and fresh basil, all mixed together till smooth and bright green. This would be poured into a crust which contained some zesty lemon zest and white pepper. And it would all be topped with chickpeas and olives, which would become, as it were, roasted, as they cooked. And poured over the whole thing would be a provocative glaze of quince jelly, lemon & lime zest, and lemon and lime juice, for a sweet/tart surprise. It was surprising, and I thought it was quite good – very summery. I mixed some sumac and smoked paprika in with the chickpeas, because I had just bought them at the savory spice store, and I was little-kid-excited about it. Isaac said he tasted three layers of flavor, which I thought was very bright and perceptive for a six-year-old.
I also roasted some potatoes, and we had them with lots of pepper and my new alderwood-smoked sea salt. (SMOKED SEA SALT!!) it was delicious!!
Here’s Bob Marley singing Corner Stone (a rare acoustic version!) I’ve been listening to this a lot lately, driving around, getting lost looking for bird watching places. I love it so much!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
freshly ground white or black pepper (or both)
the zest of half a lemon
6 T frozen butter
Combine the flour, salt, zest, pepper in a bowl. Make a well, grate in the butter. Mix it to be crumb-like. Add enough ice water to pull it into a workable dough. Knead it for about 1/2 minute, and then wrap it and put it in the fridge till you’re ready to use it.
THE CHARD LAYER
1 medium-sized bunch of chard. Washed, stems removed. (about 2 packed cups)
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 cup packed basil
1 garlic clove, roasted or toasted
salt and plenty of pepper
Boil a big pot of salted water. Drop the chard in and cook for about 5 minutes, till it’s wilted but still bright. Drain, cool, and squeeze out all of the excess moisture. Chop.
In a blender, combine the goat cheese, eggs, basil, salt, pepper, garlic and chard. Mix till it’s nice and smooth.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/4 t sumac (if you have it!0
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
2 T olive oil
Combine everything in a bowl till the chickpeas are well-coated.
If you don’t have quince jelly, anything tart/sweet would work. Marmalade might be nice! Or apricot jam!
In a small saucepan combine 3 T quince jelly, the zest and juice of half a lemon, the zest and juice of half a lime. Stir well till it’s nice and smooth, and set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 425.
Roll the dough to fit your butter & floured tart pan. Press it into the pan, and put it in the oven while it preheats. Just for 5 or 10 minutes, till it looses that shiny look, and you can be sure it will stay up on the sides. (If it doesn’t you can press it back up carefully, while it’s cooking. Don’t get burnt!)
Take the crust out of the oven, and pour the chard/basil mixture in, spreading it into a neat even layer.
Using a spoon, spread the chickpeas evenly on top, leaving excess liquid in the bowl
Spread 1 cup of castelvetrano olives (pitted and drained) neatly amongst the chickpeas.
Pour the glaze over everything, trying to spread it as evenly as possible.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, till the crust is starting to brown, and the chard custard is puffed and also starting to brown.
Let the tart sit for about ten minutes before de-panning, to allow the glaze to set a little bit.