Chard: The New Spinach.
This one's so easy I hate to bother posting a recipe. I mean, you could do this one in your sleep.
But with spinach off the menu for my U.S. readers, I think it's time for some opportunistic chard blogging. Chard is upscale spinach, greens you can serve your city slicker friends who'd turn up their noses at collards or mustard greens. It's also multicultural, coming in all colors of the rainbow as well as plain old Swiss.
I picked up a bunch of mixed chard at the opening of the farmer's market in my village the other day. It kept in the fridge for several days, since I'd also bought other veggies that had more pressing needs.
And unlike spinach, a little goes a long way. Six leaves of chard made plenty for my small family.
Try that with spinach!
It takes a bit longer than spinach to cook, but not as long as other greens. This is a dish that can be on the table in 30 minutes flat. Serve it with a loaf of Italian ciabatta bread, some wine, and pretend you went to a lot of trouble.
Swiss Chard with White Beans and Penne
2 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
6 or 7 leaves of chard
1 can white beans (navy, northern, etc.), rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
cooked penne pasta
First, wash and trim the chard. Roll the leaves into a cigar-shape and slice every 1 inch. Make another cut lengthwise to shorten the strands. Set aside.
In a large skillet, saute the shallots and garlic in about half the olive oil. When the shallots begin to soften, add the chard. Saute the chard while it cooks down a bit, then add the beans, and if desired, the rest of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until warmed through.
Serve over pasta.
Note: To make this dish healthier, serve with brown rice instead of pasta. If you're watching your fat intake, lower the amount of olive oil, or saute in a quarter cup of vegetable broth.