We’ve had this Torta Verde, a rustic tart from Liguria, bookmarked for years, but were always hesitant to tackle it because of the dough. It’s meant to be rolled out paper thin, as if it were a sheet of pasta, then filled with a savory mix of chard, potatoes, feta and eggs. This was as much a way to make the flour go further as it was for its aesthetic appeal. It wasn’t until we came across a video of another version of this tart that we understood the dough’s particularly stretchy qualities, or, in baker-speak, it’s extensibility.
With this in mind, we chose to use King Arthur’s Italian-Style flour for this torta. It’s an American version of what is known in Italy as 00 flour, and its low protein levels makes for a silky dough that is easy to shape, and bakes up light and tender. The dough will be easier to roll if you let it rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours, even better overnight. Traditionally, the torta should be even thinner than we’ve accomplished here — we’re still getting the hang of working with this supple dough. In keeping with this tart’s frugal origins, we used some leftover spinach in place of the chard; just make sure that whatever green you use is thoroughly drained. Though the torta was considered “poor people’s food in the Ligurian backcountry,” the delicious results are anything but.
Torta Verde — Chard and Potato Tart
1¼ cups flour, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup water
8 to 10 large leaves Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
1 medium potato, boiled, peeled, and finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1¼ cup crumbled feta
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to brush crust
– To make dough: Mix together flour and salt in a large bowl. Drizzle oil into flour, mixing with a fork, then sprinkle in up to ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until dough just holds together. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Shape dough into a ball, wrap or cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
– To make filling: Put chard into a colander, sprinkle with 1½ tablespoon salt, toss to mix, and set aside to drain for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together potatoes, onions, parsley, and feta in a bowl, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Press chard against the colander to squeeze out juices, discard the juices and add chard to potato mixture. Mix in eggs and 2½ tablespoons oil and set aside.
– Heat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough until 18″ in diameter, and place on a piece of parchment paper cut large enough to fit a 14″ pizza pan. Place the filling in the center of the dough, and spread to within several inches of the edge of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling and towards the center, forming overlapping pleats; gently press the tart to fill the edges. Slide the parchment paper with the tart onto the pizza pan, and lightly brush the edge of the crust with additional olive oil. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes.
Adapted from “Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian” by the Editors of Saveur Magazine.