Saturday, April 22, 2006

Easy Weeknight Meals: Spring Green Tart

Green garlic smells like fresh dirt. It's a good smell.

My favorite farmer's market in SoCal is the one on Thursday night in South Pasadena. It has a small town feel, full of families and neighbors enjoying the almost-weekend, munching sweet corn, tamales, buttery sauteed mushrooms and other treats while sprawled on the green lawn that abuts the market. With its diverse mix of stands, it allows me to get prepared for (and excited about) weekend cooking, unlike the huge Hollywood farmer's market, which takes place on Sunday.

This week, before meeting up with friends for our own tamale dinner, I made the rounds and picked up green garlic, a new to me Asian green, hon tsai tai, and rainbow chard. I was attracted to the hon tsai tai by the deep purple color of the stems and its tiny yellow flowers, and the scrawled description on a nearby index card--mildly mustardy. We left the veggies in our truck as we spent time with friends and we returned to cab smelling strongly of green garlic--or as J put it, "fresh dirt."

Hon tsai tai, pre-chopping.

All three of my purchases ended up on a cheesy tart last night, an adapted version of the tart I wrote about here. Other than a modification in the toppings, I also substituted cottage cheese for ricotta and omitted the 1/4 c. of creme fraiche, in an attempt at healthy living. It worked remarkably well--probably because the crust and the goat cheese add enough richness. While pleasantly bitter, the hon tsai tai didn't taste particularly mustardy, and if cooking with it again, I'd remove the tough stem, or cook it down a bit longer.

Spring Green Tart

1 frozen sheet all-butter puff pastry
2 egg yolks
1/2 large bunch of rainbow chard, center ribs removed, roughly chopped
handful of trimmed hon tsai tai
3 bunches sliced green garlic
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1 tbsp. cream
6 oz. goat cheese

olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.

Defrost puff pastry (I wrap the folded piece in a damp towel) and unroll it on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Score a 1/4-inch border around the edge of the pastry. Mix one egg yolk and a splash of water, and brush along the border. Chill the pastry in the freezer until ready to use.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat, and add tbsp. olive oil. Then add thyme and 1/2 the green garlic, and saute for a few minutes. Then add the chard and the han tsai tai, tossing in oil to help them wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until greens are tender. Set aside to cool.

Mix cottage cheese, remaining egg yolk, cream, splash of olive oil, salt and pepper together in a bowl (If you'd like it really smooth, you can puree in food processor).

Spread cottage cheese mixture on the puff pastry inside the scored border. Crumble half of the goat cheese over the cottage cheese, arrange the cooked greens on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the green garlic. Then distribute the last of the goat cheese on top.

Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and crust is golden brown. Cool a few minutes and serve.

Erin's Kitchen Index: Pasta, Rice, and Eggs Easy Weeknight Meals


Jill said...

That looks so good! I'm printing out the recipe.

Kate said...

Yum! I have cottage cheese and ricotta and greens on hand ... and even a frozen box of puff pastry. I'm making this tonight!

Erin S. said...

Kate--I hope it works out for ya! Let me know how it goes.

Kate said...

Pretty darn good, actually. Naturally, it being August when I write this, and not Spring, I had to adapt and use baby squash shaved thin, watercress, bok coy, and herbs. With that said, it was lovely to look at, very light, went together quickly, and used up some cottage cheese I had. I think this would be a great breakfast for a Sunday morning when I don't feel like going to a lot of effort but want something that looks like I did.

Joanne said...

I found this page from a google search where I was looking for Hon Tsai Tai recipes. This looks great! I'm printing it out and will give it a whirl. Thanks!

Kimberly said...

I also found this page looking for Hon Tsai Tai recipes. The tart looks delightful, and I especially appreciate the tip about removing (or cooking down) the tough stems. Im starting to look forward to trying this new vegetable! TY!

Char said...

I have made this twice in two weeks. So yummy. Thanks!

Vicki said...

Wow! This is now one of our favorite recipes. I had no idea what to do with our hon tsai tai and this was delicious! I used feta instead of goat cheese because it was what I had on hand and it turned out well. I will be making it again this week.

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