Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rainbow Swiss Chard with Bacon


This summer, I planted my garden very late because I was traveling for most of June. I had to choose some late summer vegetables like cucumbers and peppers. I did some research and read that chard is a great vegetable to grow in July in California, so I grew some beautiful Rainbow Swiss Chard in an earth box right on my patio.

It's really been flourishing, so I needed to cook some before the leaves got too big. I didn't have much to cut--about 12 stems--but it seemed like enough for a side dish for two. I cut the larger leaves from the outside of the plants and put them in a bowl of water. I let them soak for 15 minutes, so they got nice and clean and plump. The portion was almost perfect, but it turned out so amazing that I really wanted another helping! So if you are cooking for one, follow this recipe, but double it for two or three people.

The chard cooks quickly, so I cut off the stems and cooked them in olive oil before adding anything else to the pan. While the colorful stems were sautéing, I chopped up the leaves and some precooked, cooled bacon strips (uncured is the healthiest). The bacon could also be crumbled up into bacon bits.

This has been deemed the best Swiss chard recipe of all time by my husband. He joked that he married me because he knew in three years, I was going to make the best chard he's ever had, so it would all be worth it. I think it was really just the bacon. Maybe I need to start using more bacon.

Ingredients:

12 leaves rainbow Swiss chard with stems
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (a dash or two)
dash sea salt
dash black pepper
splash red wine vinegar
2 pieces uncured bacon, cooked to desired crispiness

Directions:

1. Soak your chard in water for a few minutes, then rinse well and shake dry or use a salad spinner. Cut off the stems to cook first.

Isn't it pretty?

2. Over medium heat, add olive oil to a nonstick pan. Once the oil gets hot, add the chard stems and cook for 3-5 minutes until they become translucent but not too soft. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the chard leaves and bacon.


Which would you snack on?

3. Add red pepper flakes (according to your heat tolerance) and minced garlic to the pan, cooking for no more than 1 minute.
Spicy and garlicky.

4. Add chard leaves, sea salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar, tossing quickly to coat and allow to cook for one minute. Add bacon. Cook chard for a few minutes until liquid absorbs and leaves wilt.


Serve hot and fresh, and leave me a comment if you like it!