Monday, July 12, 2010

This week from my CSA: Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard has fast become my favorite green of the season (ok, except for basil, but you have to admit, basil's tough to beat!).

First of all, you gotta love how long this hearty leaf keeps! I had some in my frig in a ziploc bag from the 6/29 harvest, and nearly 3 weeks later, it's still fresh and has cooked up wonderfully.
Tell me, what other tender-tasting green can do that?!

Most common preparation in my family is to prep the greens 1st for sauteeing:

1) Wash it first of course - always
2) Slice up the stems about 1/4" wide
3) Stack the leaves and roll them up "jelly-roll style" (I've always found that phrase amusing) 4) Cut across the roll into 1/2" strips, then slice down the leaves lengthwise once or twice (depending on how big your roll is)
5) Place the chopped greens in a large bowl

Saute them:

1) Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in large saute pan over medium high heat
2) Add 1/4 c diced onion and 3-4 cloves of minced garlic - cook stirring until soft, but don't let brown
3) Add swiss chard stems 1st and cook them a few minutes until they're tender
4) Then add the chopped greens and stir to wilt evenly
5) Season with salt and pepper to taste (I'm generous with salt, I'll admit)
6) Remove from heat and serve as a side dish to fish, chicken, beef, pork - anything! It's very versatile!

Other suggestions:

With Pasta
1) Cook 1 # penne or any other shaped pasta til al dente ("firm to the bite"), drain
2) In large saute pan over medium high heat, brown 8-12 oz italian sausage (about 2-3 links, casing removed and sausage meat squeezed out)
3) Add 1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed to pan with sausage
4) Add 6-8 oz of chicken broth to pan and a shake or 2 of crushed red pepper, bring up to simmer
5) Add cooked pasta and sauteed swiss chard as prepared above (unless you have a really large saute pan with high sides, you'll need to transfer this all to the pot you cooked the pasta in to have enough room to mix it all together)
6) Let cook a few minutes together to allow flavors to marry
7) Season generously with fresh cracked black pepper
8) Serve with freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese and some good chewy, crusty, warm italian bread!

In a Panini
I also discovered this green is hearty enough to grill! I lightly coated the whole leaves with some olive oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper, heated my panini grill on high, placed the whole leaf on the panini grill, closed it and cooked it for about 10 seconds, removed it with tongs, grilled a few more leaves this way, then chopped them up and added them to my roasted vegetable panini along with grilled zucchini, eggplant, onions, mushrooms (all cooked on the panini grill) and fresh mozzarella cheese!

Thanks for reading and please share any other great preparations for this wonderful green!


  1. This is great! I love your swiss chard ideas and can't wait to try the pasta! I'd like to share that my favorite time of day to enjoy swiss chard is in the morning with eggs! Either in an omelet, or just sauteed on the side. If "fast food" is what I need, I'll even just quickly saute the greens with a little butter and salt right there in the same pan I cooked the eggs in. One pan, almost no prep time, and a nice, energetic start to the day. :)

  2. Thanks Tracy -yes I LOVE them with eggs too! And with all our herbilicous herbs added to scrambled eggs or an omelet it's as close to 5 star cooking as you get!