Monday, August 16, 2010

Red greens

At the market today, I dallied a bit. You know how it is. I was there for an old friend, collard greens, but then was allured by something new and exciting, the brilliant colors of Swiss chard. The bright green leaves with the scarlet red ribbing. It's like the collards and rhubarb got a little too close in the produce aisle and *poof* Swiss chard happened. I have no idea it's history, but that what it makes me think of.

I've thought Swiss chard beautiful for a long time but had never tried it. Even though I've really developed a taste for collards, I still don't care for mustard or turnip greens much, so I was a bit hesitant to give it a whirl. But then I thought what the heck. I could always go back to the collards, right?

When deciding preparation, I knew I didn't want it to be a minor ingredient in a busy dish. I wanted to taste the chard itself. So, I found a simple process and tweaked it a bit.

Swiss Chard

1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, with the tougher 1/3 of the stalk removed (apparently you can save this part for another dish)
1 garlic clove, sliced (I used minced, from a jar - I didn't realize my fresh garlic had gone bad)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (or as little as possible; I probably only used about 1)
1 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
Pinch of Crushed red pepper
Salt/Pepper, to taste

Slice the chard into approximately 1-inch slices. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Saute' garlic and red pepper for about 1 minute. Add chard. Cover pan with lid. Cook approximately 5 minutes. Check chard. If it's too dry, add the water and vinegar. Stir so that the bottom chard is on top and vice versa. Cover and cook about 5 more minutes. Taste test and add salt pepper to taste.

This is darker than the actual finished dish. But since I was cooking at night, I didn't have any natural light to help with the photo. The green is a little brighter and the red is not as orange.

Yum. It was tasty. Not as strong as the other greens, but definitely still a green. The cider vinegar helps cut that a bit. I did try one batch with water and no vinegar, and it was still good. We just preferred the batch that with the vinegar. No leftovers. Next time I am thinking I may try using using broth instead of oil. Just to see. Always trying to improve.

Going back to the market tomorrow. Will have to have a talk with the collards to explain it's not them, it's me. My appetite for greens is expanding. And while I will continue to enjoy the flashy chard in all its Swiss-ness, the collards will always be my go-to green. Probably. Unless you count spinach... Oh well, there's no such thing as too much greens, right?

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