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Chard Onion Frittata with Basil and Gruyere Cheese

March 28, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Chard Onion Frittata with Basil and Gruyere Cheese

This frittata is good warm or at room temperature and can be served cut into small pieces as an appetizer, or into wedges as a main dish. It can be made thin or thick. In short, it is very versatile as well as delicious. To make a lighter version, just use one-half the cheese. This is probably my favorite frittata and I make it from the time chard is in season, which is starting now in my farmers market, until late fall. With good eggs also becoming plentiful, now couldn’t be a better moment to start. If summer just seems too far off, you might splurge with a little hothouse basil.

This is not a difficult dish to make, but it does require a little patience (and time) to cook the onions until they’re really soft. Don’t rush this step.  If you’ve just a little chard, or a lot, it doesn’t matter. Twelve cups chopped leaves, which is largely air, would not be too much chard.


3 tablespoons fruity olive oil, in all
1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large bunch chard, leaves only, coarsely chopped
sea salt and freshly milled pepper
1 garlic clove
6 to 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped or torn basil leaves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves or 1 pinches dried
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese(about 2 ounces – for a lighter version, use ½ this amount)
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch skillet.  Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until completely soft but without letting it color, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the moisture has cooked away and the chard is tender, another15 minutes.  Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper

2.  Meanwhile, mash the garlic in a mortar with a few pinches of salt, then stir it into the eggs along with herbs.  Combine the chard-onion mixture with the eggs, stir in the Gruyere cheese and half the Parmesan.  Preheat the broiler.

3.  Warm the remaining oil in the skillet over medium-high heat (Use a skillet that can go under the broiler if you want to finish the dish under the broiler).  When it's hot, add the egg and vegetable mixture.  Slide the pan back and forth a few times to make sure the eggs aren’t sticking, then turn it to low.  Cook until the eggs are set but still quite moist on top.  Add the remaining cheese, slide the pan under the broiler and broil until lightly browned.
5.  Serve in the pan or slide it onto a serving dish and cut into wedges.  The golden top and the golden bottom are equally presentable.

Serves 4 to 6