Just Chard, Not Chardonnay
Today I came home from the market with five stalks of chard, enough for a small army. Here we get the most gigantic chard I’ve ever imagined, huge leaves with stalks the size of your arm, and they’re tender and sweet as can be. I really missed this chard when we were back in the U.S., there’s nothing comparable there, although I don’t know why that should be. Perhaps I’ll try to sneak some seeds of this prehistoric-looking vegetable home with me. But in the meantime
the leaves start to wilt fast. Mine are currently reposing in a huge sink full of cold water so they don’t dehydrate, while I decide what to do with them. But in an effort to help you appreciate the chard you can get, and should get, because it’s so good for you and so full of greenness, here’s an excellent Morrocan-influenced recipe that’s easy to make and goes with just about everything. Because it’s a bit spicy, it’s especially nice with blander dishes like chicken or pasta. In fact, you can stir this chard into some cooked and drained farfalle or penne and call it a pasta sauce.
Chard with Garlic, Cumin, and Paprika
adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison
12 cups of chopped chard leaves and stems, keep leaves separate from stems once chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons pimenton, or use regular paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
Separate the chard stems from the leaves and chop them separately
Heat the olive oil and sauté the chard stems slowly with a pinch of salt until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pimenton, garlic, and cumin and stir to combine, sauté until fragrant. Add the parsley, cilantro, and chard leaves, plus a little splash of water. Stir, then cover tightly and cook over low heat. Remove lid from time to time and stir, adding a little more water if necessary. When the chard leaves are wilted and tender your chard is good to go. Salt to taste.