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Chard is edible after all- who knew?

April 21, 2011
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In search of some sort of greens that would tolerate the smothering summer heat of Georgia, I decided to plant some swiss chard last last year. I started it late and wintered it over in the “hooped” bed that served as a mini makeshift greenhouse when needed.

I really like the way it looks and would consider it interesting enough to have along a border even if it wasn’t edible, but my objective was still to eat it. I added some to stir fry experiments and a little to a cabbage soup concoction but hadn’t found the right formula for a stand alone dish until yesterday.

The winter chard has turned into a nice spring patch that really needs to be harvested more aggressively; the Ruby chard was doing quite well but the Fordhook Giant (white) variety really began living up to its name once the days started lengthening.

So I cut a few leaves- this looked like two servings to me (ha I learned something there….):

I decided to try this version of an “authentic Italian” recipeuy to serve over some fettuccine for a late dinner last night. The short version is to simmer tender in salty water then roll around in hot olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes.

I had to stop and admire the Fordhook leaves during the prep:

Chopped and simmering in the “brine” water:

The finished product:

It reduced dramatically, about the same or more than spinach does; the serving above was probably 2/3 or 3/4 of the leaves shown in the top picture.

Was it good? Yes, actually it was delicious in all its salty aromatic glory. I’ll probably reduce the salt initially added to the water again though; it called for a tablespoon and I cheated back to about 1/2 of that and it was plenty for a healthy person, but probably still overkill for someone who needs to watch his salt intake.

The stems have a distinct flavor and shouldn’t be wasted; I have seen some warning that the red stems are too stringy to use but I have not found this to be the case.

This one will be added to the “approved” column for future use.

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