Swiss Chard with Currants & Garlic

July 5, 2009

There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic.
~Louis Diat

A member of the beet family and a prolific grower, chard (Beta vulgaris var. cicla) is wholly underappreciated. It tolerates poor soil, inattention, and withstands frost and mild freezes. Chard comes in varying hues—red to white to multicolored—and can be served raw, sautéed, creamed…you name it.

Chard is a nutritional monarch, bringing to the table calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and beta carotene, as well as two carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin).

SWISS CHARD WITH CURRANTS & GARLIC

4 T currants

2 lbs Swiss chard, stemmed, washed and drained
2 T extra virgin olive oil
3 plump, fresh garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmigiano reggiano, grated

Plump the currants by placing them in a bowl of hot water and soaking for 10 minutes, then drain well.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the chard. Cook until tender, about for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and immediately shock in aa bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out liquid. Chop very coarsely.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the garlic, red pepper and cook until garlic is lightly colored but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the chard and currants until well coated with oil and heated through, around 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, grate with parmigiano reggiano and serve.

Pourboire: the stalks should be saved and can be used in pastas or as an aside by themselves.

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