Leafy vegetables, including beautiful raddichio, were an important part of the diet of the people from the Treviso region. In Mexico, one of the most commonly available leafy vegetables is chard, which is found in huge bunches in the market year round. Here it is combined with polenta and requesón, a fresh, mild, white Mexican cheese similar to ricotta. Mild (not salty) ricotta may be substituted. Polenta is still a common staple food in Chipilo, where cornmeal for making it is sold as maíz para polenta.
- 1 pound chard, cut into ½ ” strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 white onion, peeled and sliced into thin crescents
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup polenta (yellow cornmeal)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup requesón
- 1 ½ cups grated mozzarella, gouda, jack or Chihuahua cheese
Wash the chard and place it in a covered pan over medium heat. It will steam with just the water that clings from washing it. As soon as it is tender, pour it into a strainer and allow to cool. Wring out the excess water.
Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add the chard and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
Bring the water to a boil, add the salt and polenta and cook, stirring, until the polenta is creamy. (This is basically cornmeal mush.)
In a bowl, beat the eggs and combine with the requesón. Add the requesón mixture to the polenta, stirring to incorporate it thoroughly.
In a lightly greased 2 quart baking dish, spread half the polenta. Top with half the chard mixture, then half the grated cheese. Repeat with remaining polenta, chard and cheese. Bake at 350º for about a half hour. Allow to cool before slicing into squares. Makes 8 servings.