Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sauteed Rainbow Chard

About a month ago Robert and I began to discuss joining a produce co-op here in Dallas called Urban Acres. The basic idea is that a group of people opt in and pay an annual membership fee (in this case $50) and a bi-weekly bin fee ($50 for a full share or 30 lbs/$30 for a half share or 15 lbs) and they buy organic produce from local farmers at wholesale prices.

The great news is you get a lot of organic, local food for a great price; the bad news is you don't get to pick what produce ends up in your bin every two weeks. After much discussion we decided we were ready to take the risk and I committed to using every produce item we received no matter how foreign. This past Saturday we picked up our first half share, pictured below. Included was rainbow chard, kale, radishes, a giant beet, strawberries, apples, oranges, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, lettuce, red potatoes, a yellow onion and a red onion. Like I said, a lot of food for $30!
There were quite a few items in our bin that were completely new to us, but having recently seen an episode of Chopped where the chefs were required to use rainbow chard, I knew that was the first new vegetable I wanted to try. The result is the below sauteed rainbow chard recipe. I'll admit, we were both nervous about this dish but were pleasantly surprised by the flavors we encountered.

The garlic and olive oil give a great dimension to the spinach-like flavor of the chard. Additionally, by sautéing the greens as opposed to boiling them they were not as mushy as greens can tend to be. Finally, as I learned in that Chopped episode, the stems of the chard contain a lot of flavor, so I chopped them and included them in the sauté. This added a slight crunch to the greens and gave it a nice texture contrast. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Sautéed Rainbow Chard

4 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of rainbow chard

Begin by trimming the bottom inch off the stems of the chard followed by cutting the leaves off the stem.

Roughly chop the leaves and place in a small bowl.
Chop the stems into inch long pieces, place in a separate bowl.
Peel the garlic cloves and thinly slice.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
 Add the chard stems and sauté for 7 minutes.
Add the chard leaves a handful at a time, allowing each group to wilt before adding more.

The chard is done when all the leaves are wilted and the garlic slices are golden brown.
Remove to a serving dish and enjoy.

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