Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Saga of Swiss Chard.

Swiss chard is a great garden green. In Oakland, it will grow prolifically year-round (it's a little stronger-tasting in the summer, milder in cooler times). It grows readily from seed and even self-seeds if you let it. Grown in your own organic soil, it's so good for you, packed with vitamins and minerals and oh-so-much-fiber. But here's the problem: there's only so much of the stuff you can eat. It's kinda intense, health-foody, medicinal almost. Which is why ours ended up bolting and going to seed last summer - when you have heaps of gorgeous heirloom purple-red-yellow streaky tomatoes to harvest and eat with fresh basil, olive oil, and bufalo mozzerella, it's hard to get excited about boiled swiss chard stems, even if they are a kick-ass source of calcium.

But here it is, the dead of winter, and we have two huge, lush, swiss chard plants in the garden that must have grown from seed. What to do?

Once again, Deborah Madison comes to the rescue. A huge heap of chard leaves, a couple red potatoes, leaks or onions, and some sorrel or lemon juice (of course, we went with lemon juice, since lemons are one of our other prolific winter crops), pureed, with a glop of sour cream on top, and it tastes like a delicious and delicate cream of spinach soup. Mmmm ...

Of course, you can't exactly have pureed chard soup every day, either, and those plants outside are quickly making up for last week's harvest. I need more recipes, people!

Today's six-word memoir:

Started a garden; too much chard.

Edit: Thanks to Rebecca for the pictures and the recipe link!


  1. What about this?

    Also i'd be willing to take some off your hands if you've got too much. ; ) Mmmmm...

  2. Andrea: Be careful what you ask for - you just might get it! ;-)

  3. YUM.

    We'll just have to have chard night once a week. Or sponsor a chard cookoff.

    I posted the chard photos over here! And some dogs snuck in. Soon it will be nonstop pitbulls on my blog too.

  4. Chard is so delicious. I like to chop it up and blanch it, then fry it with a little garlic and olive oil and put it on pasta with lemon juice and a little Italian cheese (parmesan, asiago, etc.). I do not understand this "too much chard" thing.

  5. Oooh, more people to give chard to! Watch out Natalia!

  6. 1) brush with olive oil, place on baking sheet, and roast at 400 until crispy-- serve as appetizer/snack

    2) saute, add to quiche (with or without mushrooms)

    3) chop, blanch; slice potatoes and blanch; saute in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes; add a can of chopped tomatoes, simmer till tender

    4) toast walnuts and add them to Natalia's recipe (ricotta or goat cheese could be added, too)

    5) saute w/ leeks (and mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes) and top pizza dough with it

    6) saute in olive oil and garlic/onions and red pepper flakes; add a little water and cook till tender, then freeze for later addition to the above recipes and more

    have I earned my bunch of chard yet?


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