One of the first posts in this blog was a recipe for Swiss chard cooked with bacon. The other day I noticed that it was actually getting some traffic from Google, so I searched on the phrase "Swiss chard bacon." My post was 9th in the list of results, just ahead of a recipe from Yahoo! Food.
Just now, though, I typed "Swiss chard" (sans bacon) into the Google search box. My post comes in 46th. Clearly, I’ve got some work in to do in my quest to become the world’s most trusted source of Swiss chard information.
Happily, I’ve got a new Swiss chard recipe to share, without bacon this time. The inspiration was a recipe in Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook, which I looked through down at the in-laws’ over Thanksgiving and I now want for Christmas. (Does Santa read blogs?)
We had a dinner party last night with a guest who eats no pork, so I decided it was time to try bacon-free chard. Remembering that Alice’s recipe included onions, chard, and not a whole lot else, I chopped up most of a yellow onion and cooked it in olive oil for a few minutes in a big frying pan. When the onion bits were soft but hadn’t yet begun to brown, I added a couple bunches of chopped-up chard. I cooked it briefly at medium heat, turning and stirring the chard regularly until the leaves were slightly wilted. Then I turned the heat down to low, covered the pan, and more or less forgot about it for an hour.
Before serving it I stirred in a tiny pinch of Maldon salt, on the assumption that all foods are improved by Maldon salt (there’s an article in a recent Food and Wine or Bon Appetit, also perused down at the in-laws’ and as best I can tell not available online, that recommends sprinkling the stuff on ice cream). But that may not have been necessary. The chard was meltingly tender and slightly sweet, its wonderful flavor no longer competing with the smoky bacon. This is, I think, the way Swiss chard is meant to be consumed.