June 22, 2012

swiss chard in america

There is whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer and banana bread in the oven. Something good is about to happen. I'm leaving today for a weekend at the beach with my dear friends for a bachelorette. But don't think strippers and high heels, think a group of dear friends gathered together for the weekend, eating delicious homemade meals while chatting about life, sitting at the beach under umbrellas and hats laughing about anything, and huddled at night around a big table with a few extra bottles of rosé delighted in each others company. 

If this weekend is about cookies and cake then last week was about chard. We ate bunches of it. We ate it steamed with a touch of butter and we ate it buried in a bed of fluffy eggs and soft potatoes. Sometimes cooking on vacation can feel like a burden, but the simple cooking we undertook at the beach actually rejuvenated my cooking spirit

We were in Little Compton, a small seaside town in Rhode Island, it is our little escape, our happy place, where we read real hardcopy books, walk on stoney beaches, ponder the beautiful transition of meadow to hay bale, and eat fresh local delicious chard. The farm stand hadn't officially opened for the season but they had greens for sale and an honor system tin for payment so we picked up a few bunches of chard, some spring peas and pondered some duck eggs before deciding we'd stick with good old chicken eggs.
This frittata was inspired by my friend Crem who made four for a ladies brunch that she hosted on her wedding day. We met at the Yale farm, where her husband (!!!) Jeremy is the farm coordinator, and after wandering among the rhubarb, strawberries and fava beans and visiting with chickens, we sat at long wooden tables and enjoyed frittata, lightly dressed salad, roasted garlic bread and a rhubarb coffee cake. Everything was heavenly, especially the company.

I love the idea that you can throw anything into a frittata. It's a great clean the fridge dish - the more ingredients the merrier.

// chard frittata //

1 lb chard, about 1 hulking handful, cleaned and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
8 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 - 3/4 cup cooked potatoes, cubed
1 handful of feta cheese, or any other cheese you like (goat, parmesan, cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC

Chop the chard, from stem to leaf, in about 1 inches pieces. Place the chopped chard - stems on the bottom and the greens on top - in a saucepan with 2 Tbsp of water and cover. Place over medium heat until the stems have softened and the greens have wilted, about 5 - 7 minutes. Drain well and soak up extra water with a paper towel. 

Sauté the onions and garlic in an oven-proof, stick free skillet (cast iron is perfect). 

While the onions soften, mix the eggs, milk, and cheese together. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

When the onions have softened, about 7 minutes, stir in the cooked chard. Pour in the eggs and add the cooked potatoes. Using a fork or spatula lift the chard to let the egg mixture spread underneath and distribute greens and potatoes around the pan. 

Bake the frittata for 15-20 minutes, until the frittata has puffed and become slightly golden on top. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Makes for wonderful leftovers. 
There were four of us huddled under that tiny umbrella. We are shade loves, us Mayers. 
There was leftover frittata for breakfast and steamed chard for lunch. Isn't it beautiful? Bright and dark, soft and crunchy, all at the same time. I spotted this simple meal on Remedial Eating just before we drove up to Little Compton. Some things really are wonderfully timed. 


  1. I love everything about this post, from the GORGEOUS photos to the way you describe a fun weekend with your friends to the honor system that town had for buying greens. Lovely. Have a great trip!

  2. If there's one thing that grows well in Colorado, it's sturdy greens (Swiss Chard, Kale, Broccoli Rabe, etc.). Our growing season is short and while I wait for tomatoes and other summer veg I've been picking up plenty of chard from the farmer's market- and I can't get enough of it! The frittata looks lovely and so do the photos from your trip.

  3. A week of swiss chard in all its ways followed by a weekend of treats and sweets looks perfect to me. I love the photos of your time in Rhode Island... and oh my gosh, is that photo of that dining room area in someone's house?! It looks dreamy! As does your meal, of course. You can't go wrong with a good fritatta, a salad, and some good bread. I have to say I'm pretty jealous of your time back home in America at the moment. :)
    Enjoy your weekend with what I'm sure will be an awesome bachelorette party, Talley!

  4. Beautiful! I heart chard, and a frittata is a perfect way to eat as much of it as possible. :)

  5. ooo. I saw Swiss Chard at my local farmer's market yesterday. Hopefully next week they still have some. The steam version looks yummy.

  6. Rhode Island sounds wonderful, and so does that frittata. I don't think I've ever put chard in a frittata before, but now it seems like an obviously good combination. Love the idea of potatoes in the mix too. I hope that you're having a wonderful weekend with your friends.

  7. There is nothing better than beach side farm stands - you can enjoy simple, good cooking and the beautiful ocean at the same time without spending hours in the kitchen trying to dress up a recipe. I love the simplicity of your chard recipes and how it leaves time to enjoy the ocean and loved ones.

  8. Looks like a lovely weekend, Talley. Frittatas are one of my go-to dishes.

  9. Little Compton sounds wonderful...I have to look it up and get more information about it. It's all your fault that I have to check plane ticket prices now :)

  10. Talley, I need to be reminded that a week at the beach is rejuvenating for so many reasons. We just got back from VA beach, where I was forced to be without wifi (the horror!) for 5 days and in place, enjoy the sand and ocean water and fresh seafood. It was so nice. Your trip looks lovely as well. Love those farm pics!