Gourmet Galley: Perfecting puff pastry: Top with Parmesan, Swiss chard _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Puff Pastry and Swiss Chard makes a fun bread course or appetizer.

Food Editor Cheramie Sonnier and I watched several food demonstrations when we attended the AmericasMart Atlanta market a while back. One idea in particular that I liked was topping packaged puff pastry with Swiss chard and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

The chef baked the bread until it was dark brown and puffy, then roughly cut it into serving-size pieces. That simple topping made an impressive bread course that I would even serve as an appetizer with a glass of wine.

The person demonstrating the dish was showing us how we can use all parts of greens, stems and all. Well, the stems on baby greens are generally tender, so I seldom discard those. The stems of rainbow chard are bright white, yellow and red. For this recipe, I quickly blanch the greens, which loses a little of its color. But you blanch for only a minute so the color doesn’t darken too much.

You can remove the stem if you’re afraid it will be tough or cut it into thin slices and sprinkle the cut stems over the top.

The leaves are placed on top of the pastry and brushed with olive oil, seasoning and Parmesan. You will use four to six leaves for this bread, so use the remaining leaves raw in salads or sautéed. I’ve read somewhere that chard is the “new kale,” and it’s being used in and on everything.

This recipe also will work with small mustard green leaves. The thin leaves don’t really offer much flavor, but they help make this an impressive bread.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.