Here’s another gorgeous vegetable from my CSA basket – Swiss Chard! I suppose it’s in the same category as “greens” like mustard greens, collard greens, kale, that sort of thing. But it’s really not as tough or fibrous as those – it’s kind of like a cross between “greens” and spinach, which has a high water content and wilts easily. Aren’t the hot pink stems and veins beautiful?
The stem doesn’t wilt easily; it takes time to cook, so you can either discard it (WHY?) or cut it out of the leaves so that you can give it a head start cooking before adding the green parts. Just fold your leaves in half and use a sharp knife to slice out the stem.
See? It’s almost like you have two whole vegetables here!
Chop up the stems a bit… and get ready to cook! For this recipe you’ll need:
- a bunch of Swiss chard (I also used a whole bunch of spinach, because I had it – you could use JUST spinach if you wanted it or JUST chard)
- an onion, chopped
- a handful of raisins
- nuts of your choosing – I used walnuts, but I think pine nuts would be awesome, or sliced/slivered almonds
- balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper (I used white pepper because I am a bit more fond of it than of black)
Start by heating some extra-virgin olive oil in a pan, then add the onions. Let them cook for a bit; while they cook is a good time to prepare and wash your greens.
When the onions start to look a little bit translucent, throw in some raisins. If you haven’t had raisins in vegetables lately, and think it might be weird, just trust me and do it. They plump up so nicely as they cook, and they really complement the balsamic vinegar and nuts to make this a well-rounded dish.
Then throw in your swiss chard stems. And sprinkle in salt and pepper.
Stir everything up and let it cook until the chard stems are tender, about 7-10 minutes. Oh, do you like my OTHER new pan? It’s not all-clad but I think it’s lovely too. Nice curved sides so it’s like a cross between a regular saute pan and a wok.
OK, now the chard is tender and the onions are more cooked. The raisins are pretty plump by now too.
Start some nuts toasting on low heat – don’t forget about them! You have to shake them now and then or they’ll burn.
Now get your chard leaves and/or spinach…
And throw it all in the pan. Look how fluffy it is! Don’t worry – it will cook down quite a bit and be easier to manage.
Just start stirring. Actually, it’s almost like folding… use a spatula or spoon to scoop up the stuff that’s on the bottom, and put it on the top. This way, you get olive oil all over everything (add more if you need to) and all the greens get a chance to wilt.
When things start to look a little wiltier, add your toasted nuts and a sploosh of balsamic vinegar.
Stir so that everything gets covered with the vinegar, and serve! Doesn’t it look pretty and exciting! I love all the colors. And the mix of flavors and textures is really fun to eat. The chewy plump raisins, wilted greens, slightly firmer chard stems, and crunchy nuts… combine to make a lovely side dish for any entree.