For the love of chard!
I will admit, I fly the kale-loving flag far more often than the Swiss chard-loving one. As beautiful as it is in a bunch, I've been challenged over the years to find ways to prepare and enjoy it (its natural bitter saltiness always seems to shine too much for me). And as it's no longer so good looking once it's been sitting untouched - avoided, really - in the bottom of my fridge, I usually don't even bother to put it in my bag at the farmers' market to begin with. As a nutritionist though, I cannot scoff at the fact that this leafy green is an impressive source of vitamins K, A & C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Giving it another go last week, it turns out that some flavourful garlic and fennel, and some creemy white beans was just what was needed to give my chard story a happy ending!
5-6 large leaves Swiss chard, leaves separated from stalks - both chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
1/2- 1 cup diced fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups cooked cannelini beans
1 tbsp unpasteurized mellow miso paste dissolved in 1/4 cup filtered water
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
generous fresh grinding of black pepper
a squeeze fresh lemon juice (optional)
2-3 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
Steam the chard stalks for 2 minutes until al dente.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or saucepan (for which you have a lid), add the garlic and fennel and saute over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, until the fennel begins to get tender. Throw in the beans, chard leaves and miso mixture and stir. Cover and allow to cook through for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, pepper and lemon juice (if desired). Garnish with the pine nuts.
Makes 2 meal-sized servings, or 3-4 sides. GF, NF