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Recipe: Chard Tart with Saffron and Fennel Seeds

Big leafy greens with bright red stems

Chard Tart with Saffron and Fennel Seeds

From Deborah Madison, chef, Seed Savers Exchange advisor, and author; recipe from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Makes one tart


Olive Oil Pie Crust

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk, soy milk, or water

Tart Filling

  • 12 to 14 cups roughly chopped chard or beet greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pinch saffron threads
  • 1 scant teaspoon lightly roasted fennel seeds
  • Sea salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup grated Gruyère or ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, optional


Olive Oil Pie Crust

Mix the flour and salt together in one bowl, the oil and the milk in another. Gently stir the liquids into the flour until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, then roll it out between two sheets of wax paper, carefully remove the top sheet, invert the dough into a pie pan, and carefully remove the second sheet.

If any tears occur—and they probably will—simply press the dough back together.

Use dough to form 9-inch tart shell or line a pie plate. Freeze until hard while you preheat the oven to 400° F. Bake, on a sheet pan, until lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

Tart Filling

To make the filling, rinse the greens well, but don’t dry them. And don’t be afraid to include a bit of chard stem—it gives texture to the tart.

Heat a wide, deep pan and add the greens, cover and allow them to cook down in the steam created by the wet leaves. (Beet greens will take a little less time to cook than chard.)

When they’re collapsed and are mostly tender—a matter of 15 minutes or so—slide the leaves into a colander and let drain and cool.

Meanwhile, heat a wide skillet and add the olive oil. Add the onion and the saffron threads and fennel seeds, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.

Cover the pan and continue cooking while you return to the chard. Squeeze or press out as much of the liquid as you easily can (this is good to drink), then chop the cooked leaves fairly finely. Add them to the onion mixture and turn them about. Season with salt and plenty of pepper and cook a few minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Heat oven to 350° F.

Quickly stir the beaten eggs into the greens and add the Gruyère, if using. If using ricotta, add it by the teaspoon and gently mix it in.

Pour the mixture into the pre-baked crust, cover with the pine nuts, and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes.

Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature.