Chard is one of my favorite winter vegetables. It is packed with nutrients and so easy to grow in the garden. I have tried to grow all of the different colors of chard but go back to the traditional green chard with the white stem. It has a mild flavor and the plants are vigorous with large leaves. I use about 8-10 large leaves which is the size of a large bunch at the store, for the 2 of us.
I wash the leaves well, to remove every drop of grit. I cut off the very large stem end. You can also cut around and remove the stem if you would like only the green leaves, but I like to eat at least some of the stem. I chop the chard coarsely and plunge it into a large pot of boiling water that has had about a teaspoon of salt added.
I boil the chard for about 4 minutes.
Meanwhile I heat a skillet on medium heat with a teaspoon or two of olive oil, then add some slivers of garlic.
I shake in some dried hot chili flakes which come in a spice jar, or add 1 hot chili from the garden.
I add a few grinds of salt and pepper and stir the garlic and chili in the oil to flavor it but be careful not to let the garlic brown too much or it will get bitter.
Once the chard has cooked, I scoop it out with an Asian handled strainer (I love that thing!) into the pan with the oil.I stir it around in the oil until it has softened a bit, and is cooked to my liking, and then it is ready to serve..
Often I will make this a meal by putting some spicy turkey sausage in with the garlic before I add the chard. You can also add onions, peppers, pasta, you name it.
I also will cook spinach this way, but I don’t boil it first. I just rinse it and throw it straight into the frying pan with the seasonings and oil. You need to use a lot of spinach, it cooks down much more than the chard does.
© 2011. Dayna Green-Burgeson RD, CDE. All Rights Reserved.
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