July 1, 2011


I am so inspired by the locally-grown produce I find at my favorite farmer's market. I'm going to do a series focusing on vegetables (and maybe fruit) that I find there. There are too many items I've been introduced to over the last few years that I was unfamiliar with before, by name and taste. Maybe my little posts will inspire someone else to venture out and try something new.

We'll start with chard. I don't think anyone would dispute that one of the most nutritious should-be staples in our diet is leafy greens. Yet not too long ago, probably the only ones I ate were romaine lettuce and spinach. Large chard leaves come with a variety of colored stems, making them absolutely lovely: red, white, yellow, purple. Most often chard is served cooked rather than raw. Chard is a hearty addition to soups (lentil soup is especially good), can be eaten as a side dish (see below), or added to egg dishes, like a frittata.

Try pan-toasted chard with vinegar, like I did in this recipe for kale. Or try this pasta recipe or this one.

Chard with Olive Oil and Lemon
adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater

1 pound white-stemmed chard
2 small garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. olive oil
juice from half a freshly squeezed lemon

Cut out the stalks from the leaves. Immerse both in a large bowl of water, swirling to remove dirt. Rinse thoroughly.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, and add the chard stalks. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Remove the stalks with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the leaves to the boiling water and cook for two minutes. Remove when tender but still bright green. Rough chop the leaves and slice the stems.

Peel the garlic and slice it thinly. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Stir it, allowing it to soften without browning. Add the leaves and stalks, stirring to combine. Reomve from heat. Add freshly ground black pepper, salt to taste, and add the lemon juice.

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