Saturday, July 24, 2010
CSA week 6: Rainbow chard
Photo by Strata R. Chalup, My Bay Area Garden
A refrigerator drawer full of vegetables, and what did I do? Bought some more!
I was shopping at MOM'S Organic Market for a few things I can't find anywhere else, and I was attracted by some beautiful rainbow chard. It looked so bright and fresh that I picked it up, even though I wasn't sure what I'd do with it.
I turned to Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a great resource for simple, appealing recipes. There was a dish of braised chard with cilantro, and I followed its lead, even though I had no cilantro. I liked that that the recipe called for dicing and slow-cooking the colorful stems along with the sturdy leaves. Some little onions and garlic from the CSA went in the pot too, along with... paprika? Hmm.
After 45 minutes on low heat, the stems were tender and the greens had cooked down yet still had some texture. "The chard should be silky and very fragrant," Madison says. Not sure I quite achieved that, but it was hearty and tasty with some steamed new potatoes.
I learned that chard is a type of beet, chosen for its leafiness rather than its ability to grow tasty roots. Chard provides lots of vitamin A as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
Next time, I think I'd try wilting the greens after sauteing the stems in olive oil. Maybe that would preserve some of the stems' brilliant color.