Swiss Chard

Right now we have a lot of beautiful chard waiting to be harvested and taken home to be made into someone’s meal.  Below are some recipes to help encourage you to try it or maybe even to eat more of it.  And, if  any of you have a favorite way to prepare Swiss Chard you’d be willing to share, I’d love to hear about it.

 

MILANESE STYLE CHARD

Serves 4 to 6

1 bunch (1 pound) swiss chard, trimmed of coarse stems and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 scallions including green tops, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto or ham
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts for garnish

In a large deep skillet heat olive oil, add garlic and scallions and sauté until softened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add chard, parsley, basil, nutmeg, prosciutto or ham and mix together will.  Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until tender and wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.  Mix in Parmesan cheese and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve garnished with pine nuts or walnuts.

Kitchen Garden by Renée Shepherd

BRIGHT LIGHTS CHARD GRATIN

Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side dish

2 pounds chard, including half of the stems
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped dill or parsley
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk or cream or a mixture of cream and stock
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese

Separate the leaves and chard stems.  Wash the leaves in plenty of water, then coarsely chop them.  Trim the ragged edges off the stems, wash them well, then dice them into small pieces.

Melt half the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to brown a bit, about 20 minutes.  Add the chard leaves, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook until they’re wilted and tender, another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400ºF and lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish.  Melt half the remaining butter in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs, garlic, and dill.  Cook, stirring for about a minute, then scrape the crumbs into a bowl and return the pan to the heat.

Melt the last tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour, then whisk in the milk.  Simmer for 5 minutes, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and add to the chard mixture.  Add the cheese, then taste the mixture, correct for salt, and season with pepper.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and cover with the bread crumbs.  Bake until heated through and golden on the surface, about 25 minutes.  Let settle a few minutes before serving.

Local Flavors  by Deborah Madison

CHARD BRAISED WITH GINGER, CILANTRO, AND RICE

Serves 4 to 6

2 big bunches chard, coarse stems removed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup white rice
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chopped cilantro stems and leaves
Sea salt
Plain yogurt, or lemon wedges

Wash the chard well, then chop, but don’t dry them.

Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, rice, ginger, cumin, and paprika.  Stir to coat with the oil.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the cilantro and the chard greens.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, cover the pan, and cook until the volume has reduce, 10 to 15 minutes.  Give everything a stir, then reduce the heat to low, re-cover, and cook slowly for 40 minutes.  There should be ample moisture in the pot, but check once or twice to make sure that nothing is sticking on the bottom.  If the pan seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water.

Cook until the greens are really tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.  Serve warm or at room temperature, with yogurt spooned over the top or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Local Flavors  by Deborah Madison

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