Upon returning from Italy in May, I immediately sat down and scribbled a list of dishes that we had eaten on our travels. These were dishes that I hoped to recreate in my own kitchen, dishes that I wanted to share with friends. I am happy to say that yesterday I crossed off another one-erbazzone. This vegetable tart is traditionally from the Emilia-Romagna region, but you can find versions of it in various places in Italy. Whenever I see these savory tarts displayed in gourmet shops, I cannot help but buy a few slices. They’re the perfect snack back in the hotel room with a glass of wine, as they are just as tasty at room temperature as straight from the oven.
I’ve wanted to bake one of these for some time now and the memory of the one we sampled in Chiavari spurred me on. I found two recipes that sounded like what we had eaten (one in Lidia’s Italy, the other in Joyce Goldstein’s Antipasti ) and drew inspiration from both of these. I was more interested in the crust recipe, than the filling which I knew I could recreate. For some reason I have been intimidated by crusts using other oil, rather than butter. I think maybe there was a crust failure somewhere in my past that I’ve blocked! I shouldn’t have waited-the crust was simple and I’m thrilled with the tart.
Dough for Erbazzone
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virigin olive oil
1/3 cup cold water
Put the 2 cups of flour and the salt in the food processor fitted with the medal blade. Pulse for a few seconds. Mix the oil with 1/3 cup cold water. With the food processor running, pour the liquid through the feed tube and process about 30 seconds, until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough is not coming together, it’s a little too dry. Add more water in small amounts, until you have a smooth, soft dough. I didn’t need any extra liquid.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for a minute until it’s smooth and soft. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour. You can refrigerate for up to a day. Let come to room temperature before rolling.
2 large bunches swiss chard (rinsed, stems and tough ribs cut off and discarded, leaves cut into 1″ strips)
1/ 4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Bring water to boil in a large pot and add all the chard, submerging the strips. Boil for about 10 minutes, until the chard is tender. Drain and cool, then squeeze the leaves by hand, pressing out as much water as possible.
Pour the olive oil into a skillet and set it over medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the drained chard, 1-1/4 teaspoons salt and mix to coat with the oil and cook for a few minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cool briefly.
Beat the eggs with the remaining teaspoon salt in another bowl and stir into the warm chard. Add some freshly grated nutmeg, the cheese and bread crumbs. Set aside until you are ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the dough out onto lightly floured work surface, gradually stretching it into a rectangle that’s about 5″ longer and wider than a 10″ x15″ jelly roll pan. Drape the sheet of dough over the pan and gently press it flat against the bottom and sides of the pan, leaving the flaps of overhanging dough on all sides.
Spread the filling onto the dough-lined pan in an even layer and then fold the flaps over, with the filling exposed in the middle. You could also bake this in a pie dish, making a double crusted pie. Bake in the oven (on a pizza stone if you have one) for about 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is crisp on top. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. This is perfect for lunch or cut into smaller pieces as an appetizer.