Friday, April 11, 2014

Swiss Chard isn't Swiss!

Swiss chard, the leafy green plant with beautifully colored stems, has been popular in the Mediterranean since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Ranking second after spinach, it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around, aiding in blood sugar regulation, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and with an impressive supply of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin K, it is excellent in aiding bone support! So, what's with the name? Swiss chard was named by a Swiss botanist named Koch, who in the 19th century named it in honor of his homeland. Swiss chard is also known as silverbeet, Roman kale, spinach beet, seakale, and mangold, just to name a few. Along with spinach, it is one of my favorite leafy greens.

So when I saw this recipe for "Creamed Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs" tucked modestly on page 37 of the March 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, I had to try it! Don't let the name fool you, this is not the heavy bechamel-laden version of traditional creamed spinach. Rather, it is a lighter version that includes shallots, lemon zest, and crunchy breadcrumbs. Yum! My entire family loved it, even the kids! It was delicious alongside grilled steak and potatoes, but it would also make a refreshing addition to my Easter table and yours! 

Creamed Swiss Chard with Lemony Breadcrumbs

Serves 4

1/2 cup torn fresh breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches Swiss chard, main ribs and stems cut into 2" lengths, leaves torn into 2" pieces (I would recommend cutting the ribs and stems in half and into 1" lengths, because they were a little awkward to eat at 2" lengths.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, sliced
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Toast, tossing once, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook chard leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and squeeze well in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

Heat butter in a large saucepan (or skillet) over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5-8 minutes.

Add cream; bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 4 minutes.

Add chard leaves and cook, stirring, until warmed through and coated with cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.

*For more of my favorite recipes using Swiss chard, see Italian White Bean, Pancetta, and Tortellini Soup and Savory Swiss Chard Tart!

No comments:

Post a Comment