Swiss Chard Two Ways

This past weekend we went on a quick trip to San Francisco for SM’s birthday. The weather was spectacular (flip-flop worthy, actually), and the city was jumping with Halloween-crazed pedestrians. Fantastic people watching! Our favorite costumes were the guy dressed up as some sort of Elmer’s Glue superhero, and the human-sized traffic cone.

San Francisco is a fantastic food town with some of the country’s premier restaurants. Unfortunately we only had time for one dinner, and we ended up at a “Cal-Italian” joint in the Mission district called Delfina. It was living room comfortable, with approachable dishes that you know like the back of your hand – amped up with local ingredients and gourmet skills. Yum.

One of the side dishes we had was a lemon chard dish that was out of this world. I love swiss chard – it’s in the same family as beets and spinach, though it has a more delicate taste than spinach leaves do. And as far as nutritional value goes, the list of good stuff is too long to include. Part of that “dark, leafy greens” category your doctor is always telling you to eat more of, swiss chard is rich in Vitamins K, A, C, E, magnesium, manganese, iron, and fiber, and is packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene. So eat your chard!

When shopping for swiss chard, it typically comes with white/light green stems (the most tender); ruby red stems; or a mixture of white, yellow and red stems, referred to as “rainbow”. All are delicious. Look for leaves that are not crushed or damaged, and store the bunch, unwashed, in the fridge for a day or two. Chard is highly perishable though, so try to get the freshest bunch you can and avoid leaving it in the fridge.

Today I have for you not one, but TWO swiss chard recipes. Because that’s how highly I think of the vegetable. Both these dishes are quick, easy, delicious – and healthy. The first recipe is inspired by the lemon chard we had at Delfinas; the second I’ve been cooking for years. It’s from one of my favorite vegetable cook books – “Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without” by Mollie Katzen. Mollie makes eating your veggies a pleasure. Give either of these a try the next time you’re looking for something “green” for your dinner plate. Enjoy!

Garlic Lemon Swiss Chard

Click here to print this recipe.
Serves: 3 – 4
Time: 20 minutes

1 bunch swiss chard, 6 – 8 large leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped (with or without stems)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
Juice from ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse, trim, and chop the chard. You may remove the stems if you like, but it’s not necessary.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves.

Add the chard, toss with tongs to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook, tossing occasionally until the leaves reach desired texture. (About 8 minutes)

Remove the garlic cloves and discard. Squeeze lemon over the chard and toss again. Check for seasoning.

Ruby Chard Decorated with Itself

Click here to print this recipe.
From: Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen
Serves: 4 – 6
Time: 20 minutes

1 lb swiss chard, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Trim the ends of the stems and any damaged leaves. Remove the stems from the chard by cutting along side the rib. Coarsely chop the leaves and set aside. Chop the stems into ¼” slices.

Heat a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl to coat. Toss in the chard stems and the onion and heat over medium-high, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt.

Transfer the cooked chard to a medium size bowl. Return the empty bowl to the stove over medium heat. Pour in the vinegar and bring to a boil. (Open your windows or turn on the vent, it will smoke.) Turn the heat to very low and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Pour the slightly reduced vinegar over the stem and onion mixture in the bowl.

Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chard leaves. Season with salt. Cook quickly, turning with the tongs for a few minutes, until softened.

When the leaves are done to your liking, transfer them to a serving plate and season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Spoon the stem mixture over the top, including the juices. Top with toasted pine nuts.

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Comments: 3

  1. Kelly November 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm Reply

    Your recipes are fantastic!!! So wonderful – my family has been delighted!!!

  2. Gana November 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm Reply

    sounds as though it’d be tasty. and I’ve found, for those in my famliy who don’t go for greens so much: serve them with potatoes and let them mix it it up, and complaints dissappear .

    • Seattle Palate November 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm Reply

      Great idea! Potatoes have a way of making everything taste better.

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