Swiss chard leaves and fresh herbs makes this healthy omelette called Trouchia. This traditional dish originates from the South-France Provence’s city of Nice.
The story behind Trouchia Swiss chard omelette
Hailing from the picturesque city of Nice on the Mediterranean coast in south France Provence, Trouchia (also spelled truccia) is a savory combination of chard leaves and green freshness from lots of herbs like parsley, chervil, or basil.
Depending on the family recipe and the season, herbs may differ. It’s usually parsley and chervil or parsley and basil, as in this recipe.
Trouchia has deep-rooted historical significance. This hearty omelette was a reliable sustenance for fieldworkers during harvest season. It was the perfect portable meal for picnics because it was easy to transport.
Traditionally served cold, Trouchia has evolved over the years into a warm, inviting dish that continues to captivate palates.
There are many omelette recipes in provençal cooking. Another example is Crespéou, an omelet cake with usually four omelets of different tastes and fillings (one of them being chard) plated one on top of the other to form a high cake-like, with different flavors on top of each other.
Note that Swiss chard is often used in Niçoise cuisine.
Chard is highly nutritious and offers a wide range of health benefits. It is low in calories and contains lots of fiber. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, and iron.
I’m often a bit confused when translating my recipes into English as I’m not 100% fluent and don’t always know the different words between UK English and American English.
I read that “blette” as we call it in French, can be translated either to Chard or Swiss Chard. To rainbow chard when the stalk is of a vibrant color such as yellow, orange, deep red, or vibrant pink. In UK English, it’s silver beet, beet spinach, seakale beet, and leaf beet.
How to make a chard omelette
We only use the chard leaves, not the stalks. Discard the stalks and chop roughly the leaves. You don’t need to remove the top of the stems in the center of the leaves; it’s not a problem.
Do not throw away stalks, use them in a gratin or a soup (see below).
Ideally, buy organic chard as we use the leaves.
Shall you pre-cook chard?
I’ve identified two types of cooking this recipe following local traditions: either without pre-cooking the chard leaves beforehand (the chopped leaves and herbs are mixed with beaten eggs and cooked as is), or the chopped leaves are pre-cooked: blanched or, my choice here, cut into strips andsautéed in olive oil.
As explained earlier in this post, depending on the season and the herbs you can find, add fresh parsley (preferably with flat leaves. In France, curly leaves parsley is less flavorful) and chervil or basil.
If you don’t find fresh herbs, prepare this recipe with chard leaves and dried herbes de Provence.
Finally cook the omelette
The recipe is the classic omelet preparation, as we often do in French homes. Just crack the eggs in a bowl, whisk with a fork, season with salt and pepper, add the filling, and cook in a greased pan.
Note that the filling is quite important with lots of greens. In France, we sometimes add milk to the eggs for a smoother texture. My husband’s family likes to add tea or a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. It gives a kick, but as in my pork tenderloin recipe, the strongness of mustard disappears when cooking.
Some recipes where onions and/or Parmesan cheese are added.
French dishes cooked with chard
Chard, known as “blette” in French, is widely used in various French culinary dishes. Only the stalk and leaves are edible; the root is not.
Its tender leaves and white or colorful stems can be incorporated into different recipes, other than this omelet recipe.
Most of those recipes with chards are very healthy. Here are some ways Swiss chard is used in French cooking:
- Sautéed swiss chard (Blettes sautées): Simply sautéing in olive oil with garlic, as you would prepare fresh spinach. The leaves are separated from the stems, as the stems may take a bit longer to cook; consider adding them first. Serve as a side dish or as a bed for fish or chicken.
- Swiss chard gratin (Gratin de blettes): Can be done either with leaves and / or stalks (as for the traditional gratin de cardon from the Alps). Blanch and chop chard leaves or stalks, then cook in the oven with a creamy béchamel sauce and grated cheese.
- Swiss chard tart or quiche (Tarte ou quiche aux blettes): Use your classic quiche recipe and add chard. Ideally, blanch or sauté leaves before adding them to your filling.
- Swiss chard soup (Soupe aux blettes): Swiss chard can be added to various French soups, chopped in a minestrone, or blended with other vegetables.
- Swiss chard pesto (Pesto de blettes): Swiss chard leaves can be used as an alternative to basil for a pesto recipe with a twist. Blend blanched or sautéed Swiss chard leaves with garlic, nuts (such as pine nuts or almonds), parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
Trouchia, a chard-leaf omelette from Nice
- 4 chard leaves large leaves
- 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley -/+ 10 gr
- 2 tablespoons basil or chervil -/+ 10 gr
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
Start with the chard leaves
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Discard chard stalks and cut the chard leaves into strips. Sauté for 5 minutes.
Prepare the omelette
- Break the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Remove stems and finely chop the herb leaves (parsley and basil or chervil).
- Add the herbs to the beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
Cook the omelette
- Remove the chard leaves from the pan, adding them to the egg preparation.
- Pour the mixture into the frying pan and cook over low heat for around 15 minutes, until the omelette is cooked. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the omelette and the heat. Cover halfway through if necessary.
Don’t throw away Swiss chard stalks. Use them in a gratin or soup.