Charred Chard Toasts with Cherry Tomatoes, Pickled Raisins, and Ricotta
10 as an appetizer, 6 to accompany a meal
I learned this recipe for Swiss Chard while working with Ian Knauer at the Farm Cooking School in New Jersey (fun Journeyman fact, Ian’s kitchen was both Michael and my first jobs in the food world after transitioning from other careers). At the school, Ian teaches students to create dishes which both transform and celebrate the incredible seasonal produce grown on site by farmer Malaika Spencer.
This dish is distinctly Ian’s: vegetable forward, deceptively simple, and absolutely delicious. The chard, tomatoes, and warm vinaigrette make for a great grill-out side on their own, but serving it over ricotta and on Journeyman bread is perfect for hors d'oeuvres or even a vegetarian main.
1/2 loaf Journeyman Pain au Levain or 1 Journeyman Baguette, cut into 1/2” slices
1 large bunch Swiss or Rainbow chard
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup raisins
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 lb fresh ricotta, store bought or make your own
Preheat grill: once ready, move the lit coals to only one side for indirect cooking. For Electric: Set one grate to high and the other to low. For Broiler: Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat broiler to low.
Tie the stems of the chard together with kitchen string in a bundle. Drizzle the chard leaves with 2 tablespoons of the oil, fanning the leaves and rubbing them to distribute the oil, then sprinkle with a couple large pinches of salt.
Place the Swiss chard on the grill with the stems over direct heat and the leaves over indirect heat, moving and turning the Swiss chard until the outer leaves are blackened in spots and the inner leaves are soft and tender, about 25 minutes. For broiler: Place chard on a sheet tray with stems in the center and leaves fanned outward. Slide into the oven with stems most directly under the broiler flame or element. Turn frequently with tongs until cooked as above. Once cooked, remove from the grill (still as a bundle) and place on a cutting board.
While chard is cooking, bring the vinegar, water, raisins, shallot, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoons pepper to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand until ready to use.
Cut the Swiss shard into bite-sized pieces, then transfer to a bowl. Drain the raisins and shallot. Toss the tomatoes, raisins, and shallot with the chard and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush sliced bread on both sides with remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place on grill (or under broiler) to toast, about 2 minutes per side. Spread each slice with 2 tablespoons ricotta, top with chard, and serve.