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You guys.  This recipe is unreal.  An absolute must make if you have access to lots of Swiss chard.  It’s from a recipe book I cook out of often by Gennaro Contaldo.  I made it the other evening for a family and friends-who-are-family meal and there was not a spoonful left.

This is not a 20-minute meal.  But, it’s also not an all day, or all afternoon ordeal, either.  I’d say, give yourself an hour to put it all together before it goes into the oven.

It’s easily doubled and can be made a day ahead and popped into the oven to have dinner ready in 30 – 40 minutes the following evening.

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion – finely chopped
1 1/2 cans of chopped plum tomatoes (the large can) – juices reserved
6 basil – fresh
Salt – a pinch

For the Swiss chard layers:

1 lb Swiss chard – remove the ribs from larger leaves or use smaller, more tender full leaves
1/2 tbsp flour – plus extra to dust
3 eggs
6 tbsp Parmesan – freshly grated
Salt
Black pepper – freshly cracked
Olive oil – for frying
100 g hard mozzarella – shredded or cut into small cubes

Method

Preheat oven to 400F.

1. Start with the tomato sauce.  Heat up the olive oil in a deep saucepan, add the onion and sweat it over medium heat until softened.  Reduce the heat to low and then add the chopped tomatoes, basil, and salt. Simmer, uncovered, while preparing the Swiss chard leaves, stirring from time to time.  Note: if the sauce seems to dry too much, use a little of the reserved tomato juice to thin the sauce.

2. Using clean and dry Swiss chard leaves, place them in a bowl with a small handful of flour (gluten-free flours work here too) to dust the leaves.

3. In a deep saucepan, add olive oil deep enough to cover the base generously.  Heat to medium heat.

4. Beat the eggs, stir in 2 tbsp of the parmesan, the 1/2 tbsp flour, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Dip the dusted chard leaves in the egg mixture and then fry in the hot oil until both sides are golden.  Remove and drain on paper towel.

5. Line a 8 x 8 1/2 inch ovenproof pan with the tomato sauce.  Arrange a layer of the Swiss chard on top.  Follow with some of the mozzarella, a scattering of parmesan and some basil leaves.  Continue layering like this until you have used up all of the ingredients, finishing with a cheese topping.

6. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

I like to pair this with a crusty roll of bread and a green salad.  Of course, wine too 😉  If you need Swiss chard, let us know, it’s a beauty crop out here this year.  Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!