Summer Savory Tart with Chard and Mushrooms

This rustic summer savory tart is so easy and quick to put together that it has no right to be this delicious. The secret is frozen puff pastry made with butter. Inspired by one my friend Alison made on the fly, it's free-form, forgiving and endlessly riffable. Use spinach instead of chard, feta instead of goat cheese, shallots instead of onion; add some sliced roasted peppers or fresh or sun-dried tomatoes – your imagination is the limit. Use any kind of fresh mushrooms – crimini, button, oyster, beech, maitake (hen of the woods), shiitake, chanterelle – or a combination. Lately I've been buying 8-ounce boxes of a nice assortment. Pull apart clumpy mushrooms such as maitake or enoki, slice or quarter chunky mushrooms like crimini or button; slice larger ones such as king oyster.

Dufour Classic Puff Pastry, available at well stocked supermarkets, works well for this recipe. Trader Joe's also makes a very good all-butter frozen puff pastry, but (in my neck of the woods, anyway) they only sell it beginning in September or October, through the winter holidays. (Will someone please tell them it's great for easy summer baking?!)

Let the puff pastry defrost overnight in the fridge. In a pinch, you can also defrost it at room temperature, but keep an eye on it -- you want to make sure the dough is pliable but still chilled. 

If by some chance you don't finish it, store it in a large, sealable plastic bag or other airtight container, and when ready to eat, reheat it for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. (If you don't reheat it, or if you try to reheat it in a microwave, the crust will probably be limp or soggy.)

Serves 6 to 8 or more, depending on whether you slice it small for a pre-dinner nibble or serve larger pieces as a first course for a sit-down meal. 

Ingredients

2 bunches chard (red chard, Swiss chard, rainbow chard – whatever looks good), about 6 ounces each

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or quartered if they are large

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper

2 eggs

1/2 tablespoon heavy cream or half-and-half

1 package (14 ounces) frozen all-butter puff pastry, defrosted

Flour for dusting

4 to 5 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese

A few pinches of Aleppo pepper or chile flakes (optional)

Instructions

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wash the chard and trim out the thick stems. If they don't look too tough, you can slice them up and include them when you cook; otherwise discard them or save them for another use. Tear or cut the leaves into biggish pieces.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is starting to look translucent, about 5 minutes. Discard the garlic cloves. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to look glossy and begin to give up their water (most mushrooms take about 5 minutes, but some may take a little longer). Toss in the chard, add the salt, and use tongs to turn the chard in the pan until it is wilted, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl with the cream or half-and-half and beat until well combined. Set aside.

4. Dust a cutting board or pastry board with flour and unfold or unroll the pastry dough onto it. Flour a rolling pin and roll it out so that it's about an inch wider and an inch longer than when you unfolded it. Fold up the edges about 1/2 inch all around to make a rim, and use a pastry brush to brush the top of the edges with a little of the egg mixture. Prick the non-rim surfaces all over with a fork.

5. Add the chard and mushroom mixture to the egg mixture and combine well. Pour the mixture onto the center of the dough, and spread it out so it reaches the inside corners and edges. You may need to rearrange a few pieces of chard and mushrooms so the filling is relatively even. Distribute the crumbled goat cheese on top, and scatter the Aleppo pepper or chile flakes on top (if you're using them). 

6. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown. If the crust is only golden, and not golden brown, resist the urge to remove it or the bottom of the tart may not be fully baked. Slide the tart onto a cutting board or large platter, then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice into 16 to 20 pieces, if you're serving as hors d'oeuvres, or fewer pieces if you're making a meal of them.