Chard, Onion and Cheese Frittata


The summer between our junior and senior years of college, D and I took a three-week trip to Europe and traveled through Spain, France and Italy. We started our excursion in Madrid, at the beginning of a very hot July. The city was sweltering, but beautiful, with its narrow streets converging onto large, open plazas. We were only a day into our trip when we overheard someone in our crowded hostel talking about heading up to Pamploma to watch the Running of the Bulls. How serendipitous, we thought, to find ourselves in Spain just in time for this event. We figured it was an opportunity we were unlikely to ever have again, so we booked a pair of overnight bus tickets from Madrid to Pamploma. By dawn we arrived in a city that was much colder than the one we had left. The streets were teeming with people dressed in white with accents of bright red. We followed the tide of bull watchers away from the bus station and into the city center to find an all-night party still raging on in the morning sun. An open courtyard was swarmed with drunken partiers. Everywhere people were drenched with red wine that stained their customary white clothes. There was shouting and laughing and dancing, and we looked entirely out of place in our stain-free clothes, huddled together, shivering.

A horn suddenly sounded, or a siren, or bell. Some sound echoed through the entire city and the wine-soaked revelers began streaming down through the city streets toward the race course. We found a place to stand where we would be able to see the action. We were crowded in shoulder to shoulder, with our arms raised as high as they would go above our heads, cameras in hand, ready to shoot and hopefully capture one great picture of the run. In an instant the bulls came charging forward and then, just as quickly, they were gone from sight.

When the run was over, D and I wandered through the streets as cleaning crews came through and hosed down the remnants of the previous night’s party. As we made our way toward the city’s main festival area, we stopped at a cafe. At that point we were desperately hungry from having eaten nothing since before the overnight bus trip. We order some kind of pastry and what could best be described as an omelet served as a sandwich on a crispy, plain bread. We found a place outside to sit in the sun and eat our much needed breakfast. The pastry was fine, I can only assume; I don’t remember. The omelet sandwich was, and remains, one of the greatest things I have ever eaten. We spent the rest of our time in Spain trying to find this sandwich again, and finally did so on our last day, in a train station in Barcelona as we waited to board our train to Paris. A few years later, I found a recipe for a Spanish Omelet in one of the tapas recipe books my mom had given me, and we made it on New Year’s Eve. It was surprisingly labor intensive and incredibly intimidating. You need an extremely hot cooking surface and the pressure of mimicking this incredible item that remained so perfectly delicious in our minds felt really high.

When I first saw this swiss chard frittata recipe in my Cooking From the Farmers’ Market book, I envisioned it as a Spanish omelet. But it is not. It has a similar consistency, but, I’m happy to report, is far less intimidating to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 bunch of chard, about 1 1/4 lb

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 large eggs

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated hard cheese (we used Parmesan)

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 and begin by chopping up the chard. You want to cut the stems into 1/4 inch slices and coarsely chop the leaves. You’ll be using both the both the stems and the leaves, but cooking them at separate times.


Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. You will need to transfer the dish to the oven before it is fully cooked, so I recommend using a cast iron skillet. Sauté the onion until tender and then add the chard stems, season with salt, and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add the leaves and cook until tender, then transfer the whole mess to a plate and set aside.


In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the garlic and the cheese and season with the salt, pepper and cayenne.


Gently drain the liquid from the chard and then add the chard to the egg mixture. Heat the remaining olive oil over high heat. Add the egg and chard mixture and cook over medium until the eggs are set around the edges.


Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the eggs set fully, about 7-9 minutes. Let it cool for a bit before serving.


We ended up adding a little extra grated Parmesan on top and it was a perfect addition.


Chard, Onion and Cheese Frittata


1 bunch of swiss chard, about 1  1/4 lb

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

Salt and ground black pepper

6 large eggs

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup of grated hard cheese

Pinch of cayenne


Preheat oven to 350. 

Cut chard stems into 1/4 inch chunks.

Coarsely chop chard leaves. 

Warm 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. 

Add and sauté the onion until tender. 

Add the chard stems, season with salt and sauté another 4 minutes. 

Add chopped leaves and sauté 2-3 minutes until tender. Transfer the mixture to a plate and set aside

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs with the garlic and cheese and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. 

Squeeze and drain the liquid from the chard and add chard to the egg mixture. 

In an ovenproof frying pan, warm the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil. 

Add the egg mixture and cook over medium heat until the eggs are set around the edges, about 5 minutes. 

Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 7-9 minutes, until set. 

Let cool briefly and serve!


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