Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Scrumptious, Satisfying Lunch

It's January and for me that means wearing sweaters and fleeces, dreaming of roaring fireplaces (ours doesn't work!) and making soup. My husband refers to this as phase as "Winter Karen"

I wanted to share with you a meal that will make you want to stay inside all day with your main squeeze and a good book - by the way, I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" - and can't put it down.

Speaking of superfoods, this meal has it all. It's a warm, crusty, flavorful tart with cooked swiss chards (a hearty green leafy vegetable) and onions with a soup made of roasted vegetables.

Let's start with the tart. Recipe courtesy Mario Batali

2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and spun dry
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/8 cup
3 large eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring 8 quarts water to a rolling boil and add 2 tablespoons salt. Roughly chop the Swiss chard, discarding the rough stems. Add the Swiss chard to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.

In a 12-inch saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over a medium flame until hot but not smoking. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and the parsley. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of Parmigiano and, using a whisk, mix until the ingredients are well-blended. Add the egg mixture to the cooled Swiss chard and toss to combine.

Using the remaining olive oil to lightly grease a shallow 9-inch round or oval baking dish. Dust the bottom of the baking dish with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Carefully place the Swiss chard and egg mixture into the pan. Dust with the remaining Parmigiano and then the remaining bread crumbs.

Bake until the top is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve hot or room temperature.

  • This dish is not perfect, but it has great potential. I found myself wondering if egg whites would provide the same binding element that a tart needs to stay together while making this dish a bit healthier. Next time I make it I'm going to use one yolk and two egg whites. The sauteed chard and onion was so delicious that I can't imagine that three whole eggs provide any additional flavor.
  • Rainbow swiss chard is so gorgeous. It's probably a weird way to describe a vegetable, but when you see it next to everything else in the produce section, you'll know what I mean. Swiss chard is a very hearty vegetable and definitely needs to be boiled first to make it more manageable in the skillet.
  • You definitely don't need 1/2 cup of bread crumbs on the top of this tart. It was just too much bread and actually muted the taste of the tart for me. Try a sprinkle for a slight crust or nothing at all but some Parmesan.
  • Keep a close eye on this in the oven. It only took a half hour for mine to cook through. I shudder at what it would have looked like if I left it in for an hour!

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup - courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)

1 lb of carrots, peeled

1 lb of parsnips, peeled

1 large sweet potato, peeled

1 butternut squash (2 lb), peeled, cubed and seeded

3 tablespoons of good olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the vegetables into 1 1/4 inch cubes. Place the cut vegetables in a single layer on two sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss well. Bake 25-35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once.

In a large saucepan, heat 6 cups of chicken stock.

In two batches, coarsely puree the roasted vegetables and the chicken stock in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pour the soup back into the pot and season to taste. Thin with more chicken stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more chicken stock and/or water until it's the consistency you like.

  • This is a tried and true recipe. I don't have much to add other than it will be gone before you know it.

1 comment:

Wildside said...

Hi Karen! This looks like a great blog! Thanks for stopping by and adding your kale recipe.

And I appreciate this in your mission statement: "how NOT to spend your life in the kitchen" -- and appreciate your help -- as I'd rather be outside, growing things!

Haven't replied to you over there at mine yet; wanted to make certain I stopped by here and said "hello" to you here first.

Good luck with this! (I've now got you bookmarked!!!)