Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

It's Not Hard to Love CHARD


I know what you’re thinking.
I should have been a rapper cuz I’m a rhymer. 

CHARD. Beta vulgaris, cicla (huh? what? vulgar beets?) Beta vulgaris is the common beet. Adding “cicla” from sicula, referring to both SIcily and a beet variety grown there, you have CHARD!  If you like spinach, you’ll love chard. Next time you reach for the fresh spinach at your favorite produce market, try the chard instead, just for a change of pace. It is not only super-nutritious, but it’s so damn delicious!!! Buy some. Wash it. Cook it. For first-timers, just try this: Cut the stems from the leaves with a sharp knife. Roughly chop the leaves and simply toss them into a simmering pot of chicken soup or broth. In a few minutes, when it’s tender, enjoy! That alone would make me happy. 

It is so gorgeous, it might just call to you from the produce shelf. It’s dark green, sturdy, shiny leaves are vibrant and scream GOOD HEALTH! You can hear them! The stalks are either white, red or rainbow colored. Rainbow Chard is astoundingly beautiful with multi-colored stalks of yellow, orange, purple, pink, red and more. Just amazing! Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more about great seeds from the creator of the award winning chard cultivar known as “Bright Lights”:  http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-50-swiss-chard.aspx

Chard is something that we grew up eating. My mom would just kind of saute’~braise it with a little olive oil, kosher salt and maybe a hint of garlic and a fresh hot chile or crushed red pepper flakes. Maybe a bit of water or broth. Of course, the stalks were chopped and cooked along with the leaves because you know, it would be a sin to waste any of the vegetable. Italians use it all, my friends. So, when you use both, it makes sense to cook the chopped stalks first until almost tender and then toss in the leaves and finish cooking.I think Americans tend to eat the leaves and not the stalks and the French tend to eat the stalks and not the leaves. Italians - all of it!

Here’s my own simple recipe for Swiss Chard Risotto. I used only the chard leaves in this recipe but next time, I’ll use "the whole nine". Risotto is rich, creamy, warming and fabulous.  It’s a great dish in which you can showcase your favorite vegetables! And, since I’m on a chard kick, here ya go:

Delicious Swiss Chard Risotto

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of olive oil 
1 tablespoon of butter
2 large shallots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups of good quality risotto rice ~ Recommended: Carnaroli
 or Arborio or Vialone Nano 
1 cup of dry white wine (not sweet, something crisp and dry with good acidity) ~
 Recommended: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio 
5 to 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth*
2 bunches of Swiss Chard, washed, stems removed,
 leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 cup or more of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 more tablespoon of butter, for finishing

It’s true. Risotto is hands on. Probably a good twenty minutes of adding broth, cooking and stirring. Pour yourself a glass of wine (just drink the wine that you’re using in the risotto), turn on some great music, and if you’re like me, you will thoroughly enjoy standing there, stirring and sipping. It’s not just the destination, right? It’s the journey. Especially when cooking risotto. 

The Process

  1. Heat the broth to a simmer in a medium pot and keep it hot on the stovetop. 
  2. In another medium, heavy pot, heat the oil and butter.  Add the shallot and onion.
  3. Saute and stir on medium-high heat for a few minutes until slightly tender. 
  4. Add the crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt, pepper and rice. Stir to coat the rice well and continue cooking.
  5. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and cook at a high simmer, while watching and stirring occasionally until all of the wine is absorbed into the rice.
  6. Add about 2 ladles of hot broth to the rice. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the process with another ladle of broth. Simmer, cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat the process and continue adding broth, one ladle at a time, cooking, stirring, etc.
  7. When there are a few ladles of broth remaining, toss all of the chopped chard into the pot and stir into the rice. Continue adding broth and cooking until all of the broth is gone and the rice is tender and creamy, but still al dente. 
  8. Now, the finishing touch. Stir in the freshly grated Parm and the butter.  Taste.  
  9. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt & pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.
*NOTE: If you use all of the broth and the rice is undercooked, don’t fret. Continue the process with another ladle or two of boiling water (or more hot broth if you have it) until the rice is tender. 

This should be enough for four side dish servings for four normal people. Mark and I polished off the whole pot. 

Don’t be barred from chard. Have some today.

Very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Thiamin, Folate, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.



Love, Katie

No comments:

Post a Comment

Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew
A KPK cross between Spanish style Cod and French Boullabaisse

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Smoky Spanish Albondigas Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup
aka "Got-To-Go" Soup, inspired by Louie

MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

Love, Katie ~ I am so glad you're here! Stay awhile!

Super Healthy Salad

Super Healthy Salad
. . . featuring Roasted Rutabagas (or Swede Turnips, if you wish)

Grilled Corn with Tarragon Cream

Grilled Corn with Tarragon Cream
Click on the image to link to a simple and lovely recipe at Fine Cooking

Cinnamon Pecan Katies

Cinnamon Pecan Katies
Yes I Did

Forbidden Rice Salad

Forbidden Rice Salad
Black "Forbidden Rice" from China is delicious and loaded with antioxidants

Pasta with Hot Pancetta, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Parmesan & Power Greens

Pasta with Hot Pancetta, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Parmesan & Power Greens

Indian Carrot Salad

Indian Carrot Salad

Fluffy Milk Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Softly Whipped Cocoa Cream

Fluffy Milk Chocolate Mini Cupcakes with Softly Whipped Cocoa Cream

Asparagus & Mozzarella Frittata

Asparagus & Mozzarella Frittata

Grilled Eggplant is Layered Up for an Eggplant Gratin with Fresh Basil and 4 Cheeses

Grilled Eggplant is Layered Up for an Eggplant Gratin with Fresh Basil and 4 Cheeses

Oven Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Plum Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Breast, Gemstone Potatoes & Buttery Peas

Oven Roasted Herb Butter Turkey Breast, Gemstone Potatoes & Buttery Peas

Egg Ribbon Salad with Pancetta & Shaved Parmesan

Egg Ribbon Salad with Pancetta & Shaved Parmesan

Fresh Strawberry Slices & Whole Raspberries tucked into cream cheese frosted vanilla cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Slices & Whole Raspberries tucked into cream cheese frosted vanilla cupcakes

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
an outdoor grill regular at the crib

Smokin' Beets

Smokin' Beets

Roasted Beet & Potato Salad

Roasted Beet & Potato Salad

Rosemary Flatbread

Rosemary Flatbread

"Hola" from Mi Pueblo, San Jose, CA

"Hola" from Mi Pueblo, San Jose, CA

Rapini Frittata

Rapini Frittata

Healthy Portabella

Healthy Portabella

Italian Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad with D'Amato's Focaccia

Italian Tuna & Cannellini Bean Salad with D'Amato's Focaccia

Fried Asparagus

Fried Asparagus

Day Off Breakfast

Day Off Breakfast
Boiled Eggs & Whole Grain Toast ~ Simple Pleasures are the BEST!

Last Minute Lentil Soup

Last Minute Lentil Soup
with carrots, celery, and a little kale . . . topped with a heap of conchigliette pasta and parmigiano reggiano

A Sampling of Christmas

A Sampling of Christmas
KPK Pecan Shortbread Cookies and Almond Cookies