Torta de Chard

by angelika on October 3, 2010

Did you know that the average American eats .2 servings of dark leafy greens a week? That’s right… 0.2. Not even an average of one serving! It is such a shame. On the nutrition front, dark green leafy vegetables are considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. Specifically, they are an excellent source of several minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium as well as vitamins K (providing nine times the recommended daily allowance (RDA) per 1 cup serving) C, E, and many of the B vitamins. In addition, leafy greens provide a number of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin and also contain small amounts of fatty acids. Cementing their place on the nutritional honor roll, leafy greens contain very few carbohydrates, much of which is offset by its high fiber content
One of my all time favorite ways to prepare greens is my Torta de Chard. This torta is so creamy and decadent, so rich and nourishing, and yet so incredibly healthy!  It is such a versatile dish, and the best part of this dish is that both of my kids will eat it up! I call this a Torta de Chard, but I have prepared it with both spinach and kale, and it is just as tasty. Another huge asset to me, it that this torta tastes just as good at room temp as it does warm. So this is a dish I often have out on a buffet.
Torta de Chard 

9″ spring form pan 
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup non hydrogenated shortening 
4-5 TBS ice water 
2 large bunches of chard, stems removed
1 small leek, white part only, finely diced 
1 large shallot, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tub (15oz) whole milk ricotta 
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
1 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste/ about 1 tps salt and 1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg, beaten
Prepare your pie crust the same way we did for the apple pie. Leave it in the fridge to rest. 
In a large pot bring salted water to a boil.  Preheat the oven to 425º. 
my two bunches of rainbow chard

Wash the chard and then cut or break out the stem. I do this by folding the leaf over and ripping the stem from the center. You can also use a knife. Cut the washed chad leaves into strips and place into the boiling water.
  
two bunches washed and cut
starting to boil
Boil for 15 minutes and then drain in a colander. You want to leave the chard to cool for at least 15 min. 
drained and cooling
This is a good time to prepare the dough. Roll out each piece and cut to fit into a 9″ spring form pan. I like to roll it out, and the place the pan on top of the dough to cut around. This gives you the perfect size piece every time. Place the first piece into the pan, and then roll out the second half of the crust. Cut it the same way and place it on top of the piece already in the pan. This is essentially two crusts resting on top of each other. Set aside. 
In the same pot you used for boiling the chard, heat 1 TBS olive oil on medium low heat.  In this recipe I used a combination of leek and shallot, a flavor combo I really love. I have also used a small onion in the past. Either will do. In any case, make sure you dice whatever you are using very finely. Too large of a chunk of onion or leek will ruin the bite of the dish. You don’t want anything crunchy. 
Once the chard has cooled squeeze out the excess water and transfer to a cutting board. Dice the chard into 1″ cubes. 
this is all that we have left from the 2 bunches of chard! 
Take the leek and shallot and saute in the oil until tender and starting to brown. About 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the cubed chard and saute for another 2-3 minutes until everything is mixed together. 
finished with the saute 
Take the chard mixture from the heat. To it add your 15oz of ricotta. I prefer the taste and texture of whole milk ricotta. Add the parmesan cheese and stir. Salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste. Once you are sure of the flavor add the whisked egg. 
ready for the crust
Pour the cheese mixture into the crust and smooth. Transfer to a 425º oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Mine cooked for 35 minutes. 
Remove from oven when the torta is set and the crust looks golden. Let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then release the spring and remove the torta. This ease of release is the reason I prefer a spring form pan to a tart pan. 
greens even a child will love! 
A votre santé!  

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous October 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I plan to make this tonight! My carnivore Texan hubby has been so impressed with everything I have prepared from your blog that he is *looking forward* to dinner tonight! Not only looking forward, but probably for the first time in years when I announced a plan to make a vegetable based dinner, he did not immediately suggest that we add bacon to it. Thanks for all the great recipes so far!

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alma October 13, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I made this dish this past weekend. I changed it a bit, as my mom and I are gluten free, and I was in a bit of a rush (and maybe a bit lazy…), so I used a pre-made gluten free pie crust. It was DELICIOUS!!! Everyone loved it -my almost 4 year old and I both took leftovers with us for lunch the next day. This is a great recipe and definitely a new favorite.

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Shelby November 3, 2010 at 5:37 pm

mmmmm…I made this last night. It was so yummy! Reminded me of my favorite appetizer at Folie Douce in Arcata…artichoke cheesecake. I will definitely be making this as an app for the fam when they all come for Christmas!!

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Chefwannabe March 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I would love to make this torte but I can't eat ricotta cheese or cottage
cheese or yogurt. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Chefwannabe

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Angelika March 5, 2012 at 1:50 am

Hi, thanks for your question. Do you eat tofu? Soft tofu can be a good sub for ricotta cheese. You blend it in the food processor or blender with a little lemon juice/ water and maybe some almonds or pine nuts. You can also google tofu ricotta for some other recipe suggestions. I hope that helps!

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