I’m in love with the swiss chard niçoise tarte. Magic and rustic vegetables are becoming an elegant delicacy and it’s always a surprise to me when I have a bite of it.
In traditional niçoise cooking, we use local and native swiss chard called bette or blette (dark green with edible and tiny sticks) in many dishes like the troucha (swiss chard omelette), swiss chard tarte (savoury and sweet), raviolis, green pastas and gnocchi, winter barbajuans, veggie bowls with tomato sauce, petits farcis, etc.
It kind of represents our local ‘terroir' together with local varieties like zucchini blossom. I have a funny relationship with the taste of blette. I have a strong memory of the flavor, I know how to get there relying on my technical skills or imitating some gestures from my memories. However, I still love the surprise I get when I discover something new.
When you follow your heart, new beginnings are always possible. —Kalice Brun
2 sweet potatoes
Olive oil from Nice or any mild olive oil
Salt and pepper
to season Sumac (a red spice from the Middle East)
Heat oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7 and put the sweet potatoes in a large roasting tin, drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and wild thyme.
Roast the vegetables in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until caramelized and tender. Meanwhile, put the garlic cloves in a small tin, cover them with olive oil, and cook them in the oven for 20 minutes. Once roasted, put the garlic-flavored olive oil from the garlic confit cloves in a large deep saucepan. Fry one leek (white and green) over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes until softened. Then add one garlic clove, a piece of ginger, and the roasted sweet potatoes. Meanwhile, roll and thinly cut the Swiss chard leaves, taking out the stem if it’s bigger than the ones we tend to find in Nice. Add to the saucepan and stir to gently incorporate all the ingredients and until the leaves reduce. Take out the vanilla seeds from one vanilla bean and then add it to the mixture along with the vanilla pod. Then add the prepared vegetable stock (water, salt, peppercorn, leek, bay leaf, thyme). Cook for 20 minutes until the Swiss chard softens. Use a hand blender to process the soup until smooth. Stir in some crème fraîche, a little more seasoning, and reheat until warm. Serve in elegant ceramic bowls topped with some garlic cloves, sumac, and edible flowers.