Who turns on the oven when its 103º in the shade? This chef does! I had my reasons though, and I figured, its already this hot, I won’t even notice that I’m standing over a hot sauté pan in front of a preheating oven! Well, I did notice. Even got a little lightheaded for a moment and took a break with a strawberry lemonade, but the dinner, the finished product, was so deliciously worth it! Here’s what happened:
My rainbow chard was at its peak of beauty, the leaves thick and deep green, the stems fuschia and sunburst yellow, on exactly the day that the mercury hit the hottest temperature New Jersey has seen in a decade. I couldn’t let this moment pass and wait for a cooler day, either, because that probably won’t be until October. I went outside and harvested a dozen or so giant leaves from my garden, grabbed the eggs from the girls, and returned to the kitchen. I turned off all the lights and on all the fans and made dinner at noon as fast as I could. Besides, if I was working in a professional kitchen these days, I’d be called *gasp* a GIRL for whining about the heat. If you don’t have rainbow chard growing in the backyard, you can pick some up at your local farmer’s market for at least the next few weeks.
Rainbow Chard Quiche
For the Crust:
1 cup AP flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
a pinch of salt
a pinch of dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
Heat the oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt and thyme. Drizzle in the olive oil and use a fork to evenly mix in the oil so that most to all of the flour has changed consistency to resemble sand. Then, drizzle on enough water so that the dough will come together and you can knead it. The precise amount of water will depend on the ambient humidity of your kitchen and the amount of moisture in your flours. Drizzle in a little, knead, add a little more, knead, until the sandy bits of your dough can be pressed together in your fist and hold their shape when you open your hand back up. Knead the dough 10-12 times, then place between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to about 11″. Transfer the dough to a 9″ pie or tart pan and press in with your fingers. Trim the excess dough or crimp the edges and toss into the fridge for 30 minutes or so, while you do the next step.
For the Filling
2 T olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced to a paste
1 bunch rainbow chard, about 12 leaves, washed, stems removed and diced and leaves cut into 1″ ribbons, kept separate
1/4 cup milk
2 T goat cheese, I used one pre-rolled in fines herbes
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the red onion, a pinch of salt and a few cracks of black pepper and cook over medium heat until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and the chard stems and continue to cook until the stems begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the chard leaves and continue to cook until the leaves wilt, but keep their dark green color. Turn off the heat and pour the contents onto a metal baking sheet (ideally, or a big bowl) and spread into a single layer so that it cools of quickly and you stop the cooking process.
While the filling is cooling, take your dough out of the fridge, poke it generously with a fork all over the bottom to release any steam and bake in the 400º oven for 20 minutes, until the crust is dry to the touch – careful though, its 400º in there.
Next, take the crust out of the oven, add the filling, beat the eggs with the milk and then pour into the shell. Crumble the goat cheese on top and put back into the oven. Turn the heat down to 350º and bake until the egg is just set in the center about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack and serve with a big, cold salad.