Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flatbread with Swiss Chard Puree, Tomme de Savoie and Fake Bacon

Swiss chard is a member of the beet family, no surprise if you've planted Swiss chard because the big, bumpy seeds look almost identical to beet seeds.  It is the most colorful of the leafy greens, and is so beautiful that it is often grown solely for its ornamental value.  While it makes a bold statement in the garden with its bright ribs and colorful leaves, the flavor of cooked chard is not always distinctive.  It can be mildly bitter like a chicory, but more closely resembles kale or spinach in flavor.   This is not to knock Swiss chard, which is one of the healthiest vegetables around.

Swiss chard has been the subject of numerous health studies, including several documenting chard's effectiveness at preventing cancers of the digestive tract, and in particular the colon.  Studies also suggest that Swiss chard may protect the kidneys for diabetics, and it is packed with vitamins and minerals including the B vitamins, zinc, folate, niacin, iron and vitamins A, C and E.  It also contains lots of fiber and protein.  In other words, Swiss chard provides amazing nutritional benefits in addition to its good looks.
We have two thick rows of "Ruby Red" Swiss chard in the garden.  Thus far, the plants are surviving both Houston's increasing temperatures and our frequent harvests.  The plants are so attractive, it is not always easy to cut off the leaves.  But we have far too many uses for chard in the kitchen to leave the plants alone.  Last week, we made a gratin using only the bright red ribs of our Swiss chard.  We saved the leaves to make yet another of our fabulous flatbreads.

Flatbread, with its yeasty aroma and chewy texture, is the perfect backdrop for the Swiss chard puree we prepare here.  The chard flavor is enhanced with fresh nutmeg and vegetable stock, and fake (vegan) bacon crumbled on top adds a smoky element.   Tomme de Savoie cheese provides the gooey, creamy backdrop for these strong flavors.

Tomme de Savoie is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese produced in the French Alps. It is made from skim milk left over after the cream is used to make butter or richer cheeses.  The resulting cheese is relatively low in fat, but it still has a creamy, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, nutty flavor.
This creamy cheese melts into the Swiss chard puree in the oven, which is topped after baking by the fake bacon bits for a bit of crunch.  This flabread makes a wonderful spring dinner for two, and is so delicious that you'll forget that it's also good for you.  

Flatbread with Swiss Chard Puree, Tomme de Savoie and Fake Bacon

Ingredients

1            ball             flatbread dough, at room temperature for 
                                5 minutes before rolling out
                                flour for rolling out dough and cornmeal for peel
1            lb                Swiss chard, washed and ribs removed
1/8         cup             vegetable stock
1/8         cup             heavy cream
                                freshly grated nutmeg
                                sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/4        lb                Tomme de Savoie cheese or similar, 
                                broken into small chunks
2           strips           fake bacon, cooked and finely chopped

Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 450° and move shelf to top third of oven.  Place pizza stone in oven to heat, ideally for one hour before baking flatbread.
  2. Boil a big pot of water, then blanch Swiss chard leaves until soft, about 2 minutes.  Run under cold water immediately to stop the cooking process, then drain well.
  3. Combine leaves in food processor with half the vegetable stock and half the heavy cream.  Puree, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.  If puree is too thick, add more vegetable stock and heavy cream and puree again.  If too watery, strain excess liquid using a colander and discard extra liquid.
  4. Roll out dough on well-floured surface, then transfer to peel covered with cornmeal.
  5. Spread thin layer of olive oil on dough, then add cheese chunks.  Top with Swiss chard puree.
  6. Bake until crust is done, about 5 minutes.
  7. Top with fake bacon and serve immediately.            

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6 comments:

  1. Delicous recipe! My chard has just begun to peek out from the ground. Some of it is returning from last year, too. I love the versatility of Swiss chard!

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  2. I love chard. Those lovely dark greens are so healthy. Looks delicious!

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  3. That looks so good, I wish I could have some for lunch today! Thanks for the recipe. There is tons of swiss chard at the farmers markets so I'll be sure to pick up some.

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  4. Yum! Swiss chard puree and Tomme de Savoie combo sounds fantastic on the flatbread!

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  5. A fantastic & amazing very flavourful pizza!!

    I so love Tomme de Savoie cheese too!

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  6. yum, another amazing flatbread! love it! :)

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