Swiss Chard

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Being soaked in salty water to clean out dirt and sand

Swiss Chard, oh how I love thee.  I don’t know how I survived without you for the first 25 years of my life.  I got my first taste of this yummy tender vegetable at my in-law’s house.  I was over for the usual “big” Sunday lunch… I can’t recall the actual details but it must have been right around now when Swiss Chard comes in season.

There it was, a large bowl of kinda boring looking vegetable with a bunch of garlic on top.  Who could have guessed that I would fall in love?  But looks are deceptive.  There is a buttery nuttiness to homegrown Swiss Chard that just can’t be found elsewhere.  Plus, the leafy green soaks up the garlicky oil that enhances the buttery nuttiness and oh yum, yum yum!

Swiss chard was one of the first vegetable that Soso was introduced to and loved.  Seriously, she gobbled up the chopped up pieces like there was no tomorrow.  With her bare hands.  She was two, OK?  Boy did she love Swiss chard and white rice.  It made for a messy meal, but then again what isn’t messy to a two year old?

Anyway, my father-in-law who still maintains a vegetable garden brought over a bunch of these babies.  I had actually never tried the red ones, but they are equally as good as the plain green ones.

In the above picture, I am soaking them in salted water to clean out the dirt and grit.  I have been told by experts (aka co-workers who’ve cooked collard greens all their lives) that the key to cleaning leafy greens is to soak them in salted water.  Something about the salt helps to shake all the dirt loose… not sure if its old wives tale but, I’ve never bitten down on single grain of grit/sand since I adopted this method.

Some people like to discard the stems, but I like them.  That’s where that nuttiness reside. Plus, the stems add some texture, a bit of crunch amongst the tender leaves.  So, I blanch the chard in boiling water and then “shock and awe” them in an ice bath.

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Then, I chop up a bunch of garlic, sautéed them in extra-virgin olive oil until golden brown, add the chard and voilà!

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I know, it looks kind of bland and boring, but trust me it is really good.  I could eat this whole bowl as a meal with some bread.

Swiss Chard

Time: 20 min prep, 15 mins cook

Serving: 2 -3

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Swiss chard
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic slivered
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Direction

  • Clean the Swiss chard thoroughly by first filling the sink (or a really large bowl) with water.  Add some table salt and let the chard soak.  Meanwhile, fill a large pot 3/4, add about 1 teaspoon of salt and set to boil.  Then swish the chard around, rub the leaves gently under water s and drain.  Fill the sink again and repeat the process two more time or until you don’t see any sand residue at the bottom of the sink.
  • Cut the chard in half, around where the stem and the leaf meet.  When the water comes to boil, add the stem part first for a couple of minutes.  Then add the leafy part.  Keep the leaves submerged in water or they will blacken.
  • Meanwhile, set up an ice water bath.  When the stems are tender, drain and quickly add to the ice bath to cool and stop the cooking process.  When cool, drain and gently squeeze excess water.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan (I just use the pot that I blanched the chard) on medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté until they start turning golden.  Add the chard and saute until the chard is thoroughly coated in oil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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