I have a small plot of Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard that took forever to sprout. I almost planted over it thinking it was bad seed. Looking back, it seemed to need a particular temperature to get going. A month after I sowed, when the temps were consistently in the upper 80s, I saw a single sprout come up. As I waited for more. gradually, they all made an appearance and have been growing well in 95 degree summer heat every since. This colorful variety makes for a beautiful garden, it is lush and attractive. I am happy to have them in my garden and will probably plant them next year as well.
Yesterday I had the joy of eating some of this healthy green. I found several recipes online but combined a few into my own. Let me say up front, I love cooking, but I don’t often use precise measurements. Feel free to adjust as you wish. Here’s what I did.
I gathered a good sized bunch of mostly young chard, not sure how to describe the volume except that the leaves filled a large mixing bowl when loosely packed. This dish might make a side serving for two people, depending on your serving size. It might make a nice main dish for one (that’s how I enjoyed it).
You will also need the following:
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter
- 1 tbsp or so of olive oil (keeps the butter from burning)
- Half of a small red onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
- Half a cup of white wine (dry is best, but I used a Reisling and it was delicious)
- Juice of half a small lemon
- Salt to taste
- Half a tsp of ground red pepper (more or less to taste)
- 2 tbsp of Romano/Parmesan grated cheese (more if you like)
In this recipe, keeping some liquids left over in your bowl makes for an almost soup-like ending. The broth is worthy of a chunk of french bread to soak up every last drop. First, remove the largest stems and veins and chop them all up coarsely. Coarsely chop the greens too and set them aside. Chop up the onion coarsely as well. Using a large enough pot to contain your greens, saute the onions, minced garlic and chopped chard stems in the butter and olive oil until they begin to soften.
Once the stems are soft, add the wine and the leaves. Saute until the leaves are wilted, or just a bit longer if you prefer, 5 or 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice, add the pepper and cheese, and stir in well. The cheese will give some opacity to the broth if you didn’t cook off all your liquids. And yes, I used the shaker can of Romano/Parmesan cheese blend that you keep in the fridge and shake over your spaghetti. Call me uncultured, but that’s what I had on hand and it was fine. Serve with crunchy french bread or as a spicy side dish.
The heat provided by the red pepper provides a nice kick and tingle, the wine gives a pleasing tangy note, and the earthy chard flavors are balanced nicely. This dish was a surprisingly delicious treat. It will be a regular treat as long as the chard keeps growing.