Saturday, June 05, 2010

How to Cook Swiss Chard...

I went to the local Saturday morning market place midtown today.

This particular day they were honoring cancer survivors... so three of us went with my cancer survivor friend, Sherri.

As I walked around the various booths of homemade breads and cakes, local artist's work, Alabama honey, farm grown vegetables, a variety of herb plants, etc. etc. my eye caught a bunch of greens sitting on a nearby counter. The sign said: "Swiss Chard $2 bunch". I remembered a time a while back when I picked up some salads at Whole Foods and one of them contained chard. I recall that it was different and quite delicious.

OK, I'm adventurous, so I bought a bunch and began to inquire exactly how to cook these greens.

No one seemed to know. Not a good sign.

I finally arrived at another booth that also had the Swiss Chards displayed. This gentleman knew what to do with them. He began to tell me to cut off the stems and cook them first because they took longer than the leaves. He continued as he added onions, cheese, nuts, and fruit (fruit?) to the recipe. I smiled, told him "thank you" and went on my way. Before leaving the area I got in a conversation with a woman who was also looking to buy some greens. I told her about the Whole Food's salad and she said: "Oh, you mean Kale!".

KALE! Right! That was what I had and loved....

Oh well. I was stuck with this strange looking bunch of chard and was determined to make it, I got home....looked it up on the Internet and here is what I found.

(my Swiss Chard on the left)

"Of all the fresh greens that you can find in your supermarket's produce section, none is as nutritious for you as Swiss chard. Really, it is bursting with good things, from huge amounts of vitamin A and vitamin C to lots and lots of phytonutrients. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans praised chard for its health-giving properties. Swiss chard is available year round in most places, although by most accounts it is at its peak of taste in the summer months. I have personally bought and enjoyed it even in the depths of January and February.

If you can get hold of young chard, which is the most tender, you can eat it raw in salads or as a flavorful alternative to lettuce in sandwiches.

As for cooking Swiss chard, feel free to use it instead of spinach in any recipe. You'll have to cook it slightly longer than you would spinach, and perhaps a good bit longer if it is older chard.

Chard can be used in place of spinach in any recipe, although chard will need to be cooked a bit longer. When cooking older chard, the stems require longer cooking time than the leaves. You might find that you need to separate the stems from the leaves and cook them separately, with the stems requiring a longer cooking time because of their thickness.

Here's an easy recipe for cooking Swiss chard:


1 to 2 pounds Swiss chard, thoroughly washed and drained

2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (2 tablespoons per pound of chard)

2 cloves of garlic, minced


Ground black pepper


1. Remove leaves of chard from their stems; chop stems into bite-sized pieces.

2. Stack or roll the leaves together and slice them into smaller strips using a sharp knife.

3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Place olive oil, chopped chard stems and minced garlic in skillet and saute 4 to 6 minutes.

4. Add the chard leaves a bunch at a time as you stir. Once all the leaves are in the skillet, cover with a lid and allow to cook for another 4 to 6 minutes, or until the greens look wilted.

5. Remove the lid. Turn heat to high and continue cooking approximately 2 more minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated.

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve. "

Wish me luck. More tomorrow!!!! : )


Granny Annie said...

Lambs quarter grows wild around your home and the small leaves are delicious cleaned and placed in a salad or cooked like greens or spinach.

Tabor said...

I have a huge garden full of swiss chard and hubby is gone for two weeks. I already ate a huge dish of it yesterday, but don't think I will be able to finish it all.

TBSC said...

Looks good! Here is our take on it... not much different but the pancetta is a nice addition.