Cook the Book: Swiss Chard Flan

This past Sunday morning seemed as good a time as any to venture into the pages of Canal House Cooking and come up with a brunch or lunch-worthy dish. My crisper was brimming with bunches of gorgeous red chard from the farmers' market, and I naturally gravitated to Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's recipe for swiss chard flan. When I wake up in the morning I want eggs and greens. Sure, you can throw some ham or bacon in there for good measure, and maybe a slice or two of buttered toast, but leafy greens and protein-rich eggs are what I crave.

This recipe takes a bit of prep time, chopping the onion, garlic, and chard—stems and leaves separately. What you end up with can only be described as a savory vegetable-laden custard. It tastes like the lightest quiche filling imaginable, minus the crust. Topping the flan with a dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano and finishing it under the broiler adds a nutty and bruléed element to the final dish.

This recipe was pretty much perfection on its own, but here are a few notes if you are planning on making this recipe at home. Don't be shy with the salt and pepper—two bunches is a lot of chard. If you are looking to spice it up, a little bit of freshly ground nutmeg or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes would do the trick. The recipe advises that the flan should be served at room temperature and I agree whole heartedly. The flavors become more enhanced and refined after the flan has had a chance to cool down.

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Swiss Chard Flan

Adapted from The Canal House by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton.

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Cook the Book: Swiss Chard Flan

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bunches young chard, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Procedures

  1. 1

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chard stems, cover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Add the chard leaves, cover, and continue cooking until the leaves have wilted, about 10 minutes.

  2. 2

    While the chard cooks, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat in the half-and-half and cream. When the chard is wilted, season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the eggs and cream over the chard, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the custard has just set, about 20 minutes. It may be a little jiggly in the middle.

  3. 3

  4. 4

    Or if you like, cook the flan in a preheated 375°F oven the whole time. It will take about 45 minutes.

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