This week, I got to work with one of the most fascinating, unusual ingredients – sea beans.
Salty, crunchy, they are reminiscent of a young snappy asparagus, but look somewhat like a fern. Sea beans – actually, a misnomer, as they are not really beans – are sometimes known as sea asparagus and grow wild or farmed all over the US.
I am fascinated by their salty breeze flavor but, often, not quite sure what to do with them.
Use sparingly. Sea beans pack a punch of flavor in seasonal salads or when paired with milder counterparts – in this case, creamy quark*. I think I will also use them in a burrata salad.
In the meantime… this tart is summery comfort food at its peak, while the weather here in the Northeast still tries to make up its mind whether it is really June… and I don’t need to tell you that sunny yolks make everything better.
Tips: Quark is a fresh, spreadable cheese, similar to ricotta or cottage cheese. For more summer quark recipes, try the stuffed squash blossoms here!
Rainbow chard, sea bean and quark tart
- pate brisee (recipe linked)
- 2 cups rainbow chard (stems and leaves), chopped
- 1/4 cup sea beans
- 8 oz fresh quark (you can substitute farmer’s cheese or fresh ricotta)
- 2 eggs
- olive oil
- salt, pepper
1. Make the pastry first. Roll out and arrange in your tart dish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.
The quark will be the bottom layer of your tart – spread it evenly in the pre-frozen crust and refrigerate again while you’re getting the greens ready.
3. Saute the rainbow chard with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Be careful not to over-season, as the sea beans themselves are quite salty!
Add sea beans to the saute pan and cook for 3-4 more minutes.
4. Layer the greens on top of the quark and bake for about 40 minutes or until pastry is golden.
5. Break the eggs on top of the tart and return to oven. Bake until eggs are just set, about 15 more minutes.