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How To Cook Swiss Chard

Posted Oct 22 2010 8:38am

I love leafy greens.  Spinach, kale, chard, collards–all some of my favorites.  I have especially been eating a lot of rainbow chard lately.  No particular reason–maybe I am just mesmerized by their beautiful rainbow stems.

What many people have expressed to me about greens is that they would probably eat more of them if they knew how to prepare them.  As I see it, no one should let “I don’t know how to cook it” stand in their way of eating a delicious, healthy vegetable!  Which is why I’m here today with a very simple chard recipe.  No more excuses!

While I have informally mentioned previously how I prepare my chard,  I thought an actual recipe might be more helpful to some.  While those lovely baby spinach leaves very willingly wilt in a bit of olive oil, tougher greens like chard, kale and collards take a bit more encouragement.  I find that the best way to cook these is with a combination of dry- and moist-heat methods–that is, by sautéeing first and then steaming.

I love greens so much that typically when I prepare them I keep other flavors to a minimum.  In my opinion, just a bit of lemon and sea salt is the absolute best seasoning for leafy greens. In this recipe I added a bit of garlic as well, which is also complimentary.  Keep in mind that the lemon should be squeezed over the greens just before you eat, since cooking in acid will discolor greens.

Simple Swiss Chard with Garlic and Lemon
Serves 2

1 small-ish bunch Swiss chard (about 8 cups when torn)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Pinch of sea salt
Lemon wedges

1.  Cut the rough, browned ends off the chard stems.  Wash each chard leaf and tear the leaves and stems into large pieces.  A lot of people will tell you to strip the leaves from the stems and discard them. No way!  The stems are a great source of fiber, and will cook down to a good texture if you are steaming.  Place your torn leaves and stems in a colander and shake to drain.

2.  In a big pot, heat olive oil over medium-high.  Saute the garlic for 30 seconds and then throw in your chard.  Toss greens thoroughly to coat with the oil.  Saute for a minute or so, then add 2 Tbsp water and cover.

Keep an eye on the greens, stirring occasionally.  If the leaves seem to be getting dry, add another Tablespoon of water.  Steam for about 5 minutes, or until leaves are wilted and stems are crunchy-tender.

3.  Remove from heat.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and toss with lemon zest.

Yes, that is a gigantic lemon.  I think this is from my parents’ tree.

4.  Serve chard with lemon wedges;  sprinkle with lemon juice as you eat. Yum!

Hope this is helpful! How about a side of chard tonight? :)

What are your favorite type of leafy greens? How do you like to cook them?

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