To mark the conclusion of Summer Break 2013, John and I combined forces to cook ourselves a feast for dinner last Thursday night – the evening before I returned full-time to work for the new school year. John requested Creole Pasta as our main course, which is a delicious, but very rich, dish that we made twice last year (before I went on WeightWatchers, of course). Wanting to prepare a vegetable side other than my usual side green salad, I got busy looking through my cookbooks. I eventually settled on Sautéed Swiss Chard from the Moosewood Cookbook. I have sautéed kale a number of times now, but I had yet to try my hand at Swiss chard.
The recipe calls for 1½ lbs of Swiss chard. I bought two batches of red chard, but I never did weigh it to see exactly how much I had on hand. I simply used my best judgment to determine the amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper to use.
I cooked the chard in a large nonstick skillet, as John had command of our wok for the Creole Pasta. Although the chard would not all fit in the skillet at once, I simply waited until the chard I put on first had cooked down a little and then added the remaining raw chard to the skillet (as opposed to cooking it in two completely separate batches as the recipe calls for). I always find it incredibly amazing to see just how much greens reduce in volume as they are cooked, and this chard was no exception.
John and I both loved the Swiss chard, giving it 3.5 stars. With its garlicky flavor, the chard paired perfectly with the creamy, spicy Creole Pasta.
Sautéed Swiss Chard
1½ lbs Swiss chard (ruby and/or green)
2 to 3 TB olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 TB balsamic or red wine vinegar
1. Coarsely chop the chard (include as much of the stems as feasible).
2. Heat a wok or a large, heavy skillet. Add 1 TB olive oil and half the chard. Turn up the heat, and stir-fry for several minutes. When the chard begins to be limp, add half the garlic, and stir-fry for just a few minutes more.
3. Transfer to a platter or bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt, heavily with pepper, and toss with 1 TB vinegar.
4. Repeat with the remaining half of the ingredients. Taste to adjust seasonings. (You may wish to add a little more olive oil). Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature.
(These instructions are for preparing the chard in two batches, as it is quite bulky until it cooks down. If you have a very large wok or skillet, you might be able to fit it all into one effort.)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings.