November 3, 2011

Cranky Food: Swiss Chard (And What To Do With It)

Swiss Rainbow Chard -- from the greenmarket this past Saturday!

One food that always goes well with my cranky gut -- and nearly any main dish -- is Swiss chard.  It's not only tasty but a nutrition powerhouse -- a cup even provides 3 grams of protein!

Most of my vegetables are given the same treatment:  steam-saute in a cast iron pan with olive oil, maybe some garlic too.   Or, roasting with olive oil and garlic.   I can't imagine any other cooking process providing as much flavor and just the right texture.   Here's what I did with Saturday's chard.  First -- separate stems from the leaves, and saute the chopped stems with olive oil and pressed garlic.  (I got the garlic going a bit first, before adding the stems.)

Chard stems and garlic.  Saute til the stems are softened.

Chop the leaves -- I just fold the large leaves over, and make thin slices.  You can't really go wrong here.   Add the leaves to the stems and "fold in" -- coat with the olive oil and stem mixture.  This may take two hands, especially if your pan is not quite large enough.   I add just a sprinkle of salt -- for taste but also salt helps the greens cook better.    Cover with a lid and heat over a low flame for a few moments.  Stir.

Here the leaves have been added and "folded" into the
softened aromatic stem/oil/garlic mixture.

Add a small amount of water, and steam-saute for several minutes, until the chard softens and becomes "mellow" in taste.  There is a magical number of minutes where the chard goes from slightly bitter to fantastic and mellow -- that's when you turn off the heat, keep things covered, and let it all "come together" for a minute or so while you get everything else plated.

And, here is the chard with the rest of our dinner:  grits, pinto beans (that I made from dry beans, also from the greenmarket) and veggie sausages.  Amazing!

Chard, pintos, grits, veggie sausages. 

1 comment:

  1. I love chard and eat it a couple times a week! One thing I really like to do is to finish it with just a touch of acid, maybe like a teaspoon or less of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Of course, you wouldn't want to do that in your cast iron skillet!