Thursday, May 31, 2012

Swiss Chard the way I like it


Besides buying produce at the farmers market, I get a CSA box every other Tuesday. I first signed up for it thinking that it would force me to use produce I’m not familiar with, but their customer service is so terrific, they give me 4 days warning during which I can fiddle with the box, and I almost always do.

I decided long ago that I wasn’t going to cook a different meal for each generation in my family. I cook, and you eat what you want. As a result, my kids are excellent eaters. But I know not to push my luck too far. As long as there’s something they know and like in a dish, they’ll give it a try. But I mess with my CSA order because I’m not sure they’d let me get away with serving as many leafy greens as the box wants us to some weeks, and there was a week last winter during which I consumed a remarkable number of different root vegetables and my kids weren’t all that impressed.

So despite the fact that my kids have been telling me for years that they don’t like Swiss chard, I continue to serve it. My favorite way to eat it is actually so delicious that I truly do not understand why they won’t eat it. And my perseverance has finally paid off. On Tuesday I got a big bunch of rainbow chard in my CSA box. I thought about deleting it because we bought a great big bunch a week ago, but it’s just so good right now, I couldn’t resist.

Tonight I made chicken schnitzel to get in my children’s good graces (they love it). And I made the chard just the way I like it, with pine nuts and raisins. Maybe it’s grown on them? Maybe they were super-hungry? Maybe they’ve just given up? But tonight they ate it, and everyone had at least a second helping. I found the original recipe years ago in a magazine, probably Gourmet or Bon Appetit. I’m pretty sure that over time I’ve increased the quantities of “extras”, but basically the recipe is this:

Toast about ¼ cup pine nuts in about ¼ cup olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they are golden. Carefully remove them from the pan and put them on a paper towel to drain, but leave the oil behind in the pan. Lightly salt the nuts and set them aside. In the leftover oil, sauté one finely diced onion and the chopped stems of one bunch of chard until they are tender. Add the chopped chard leaves, a good sprinkling of sea salt, a couple of tablespoons of water, and ¼ cup of golden raisins. Stir, and put the lid on to let the chard steam and the raisins plump for a few minutes. When the chard is as tender as you like it, add the nuts and toss to mix. Add more salt to taste.

And enjoy! We ALL do!

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