Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chard, Three Ways

Sometimes I am not very good at doing things with restraint. For instance, last Wednesday at the Main St. Farmer's Market I bought two bunches of beautiful Flamingo Swiss Chard from The Healthy Kitchen. I neglected to take a photo of it before cooking but here's a good example.

I also had some bolting plants leftover from the fall that needed to go to make room for this spring's seedlings (fall and spring seedlings from Crabtree Farms). That's a lot of chard! My go-to recipe for chard greens is to combine them with some sautéed onions. For the stems we like to bake them with butter and parmesan. But I was in the mood for something different! Well, I found it: Swiss Chard Hazelnut Dessert Tart (and made use of Healthy Kitchen's eggs, too). Apparently this is not specifically a health food but an old French recipe. I imagine chard's high oxalic acid gives it appeal in a dessert much the same way rhubarb does. 

I decided to go with the old standby of baked chard stems, sautéed greens, AND the new tart recipe. Dinner was a little late that night. I also baked my fresh Chicken Club whole chicken from Hoe Hop while messing around with the chard.

The result? Success! Since I cannot eat them myself I left off the hazelnuts and tart crust of the original dessert recipe and it was still good and appreciated by everyone. I'm sure it's even better with the nuts and crust. 

The baked stems are still colorful, though not the bright pink of the original. The browned butter and parmesan help make up for the color change. 

I did not take a photo of the sautéed greens as they were not as pretty as the other dishes. I tried with the beautiful brown chicken but I had knocked some skin off one leg. It was still yummy! Here's a mini shot.

Find the tart recipe on Michelle Redmond's blog Stone Soup.

Here is my version of Jack Bishop's Baked Chard Stems with Butter and Parmesan (adapted from Vegetables Every Day):

1 pound chard stems (about 12 large stems)
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup parmesan cheese 

1. Arrange the chard stems in an appropriate size dish (chard stems sizes vary - I usually use 8 x 8 but this night I had enough and large enough for 9 x 13). Leave some water from washing on the stems and/or add a couple of tablespoons of water to the dish. Salt lightly and cover the dish (foil, a lid, a cookie sheet). Bake at around 350° until tender (about 15 minutes). 

2. Melt the butter, pour over stems, then sprinkle on the parmesan. Bake until lightly browned, about another 10-15 minutes or so. 

Note that this is very flexible recipe. The oven temperature can easily go up or down and the time will vary with the size of the chard stems. It is hard to overcook it in the early stages, just watch the browning at the end. 

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