The wide stems of Swiss chard have a delicate flavor of their own. I like to cook them separately from the leaves and then recombine them for serving. Here is a recipe for chard that we served at a recent Chef’s Table dinner at Tess’.
Serves 3 or 4
1 large bunch Swiss chard 3 Tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling 2 Tablespoons minced shallot or green onion Pinch of salt 1 clove minced garlic 1 Tablespoon white or red wine vinegar Fresh ground black pepper
Rinse chard in cold water. Trim off the stem ends and cut out the central ribs. Cut leafy parts into pieces about 2-inches square and set aside. Cut the ribs lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips and then crosswise into 1-inch pieces.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallot and cook for two or three minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for several more minutes. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer until tender, adding water if need to prevent scorching. Remove the cooked stems to a plate and set aside.
Rinse out the pan and wipe dry. Place over medium high heat and add 1 Tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot add the chard leaves in batches as the ones in the pan wilt down, turning to cook evenly. When all the leaves are in the pan, add a pinch of salt and the minced garlic. Give the leaves one more turn, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until tender.
To serve, return the stems to the pan with the leaves, toss with the vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little more oil for serving.