Sauteed Swiss Chard & Romesco Stuffing (RECIPE)

August 25, 2010 § 3 Comments

It’s crazy hot in San Francisco — something we sadly only experience about one day a year here. The mercury hit 90 yesterday and 92 today during a month that typically ranges 50 to 75 degrees.

While the tomatoes have halted their dying during this short sunshine spell and the jalapa pepper is rejuvenating from the formerly rebellious state I told you about earlier this month…

Early Girl cherry tomatoes: Ripening in whatever sun they can get

The jalapa: Trying to live against all odds

…the blazing sun started wilting my mesclun and chard — and my husband and me. We live in a house without air conditioning. After nearly five years of being overheated and unable to sleep on the one day it’s actually hot at night, we are finally now the proud owners of a fan (which we’ll get to use for one day before the temperature drops right back down to 55 tomorrow night).

While we’ve perked up, I knew that the mesclun and chard might not be long for this world if I didn’t harvest some soon. And the apples on our tree had developed deep red cheeks and streaks while we were gone, announcing that they were ready to be harvested. I picked 20 of them today so that they didn’t fall victim to squirrels, insects or gravity (more on the victory of the apple tree in a post later this week — stay tuned).

Also, after two weeks of gorging ourselves on vacation — gobbling up everything from fried zucchini blossoms (courtesy of our friend who works in finance but really should open his own restaurant, he’s that amazing at cooking) to platefuls of Mexican food to giant racks of ribs slathered in lilikoi-barbecue sauce in Hawai’i — I figured it was time to get back on the horse of healthy eating.

So, tonight we had a relatively light yet flavorful supper, with many ingredients coming from our backyard:

Tuesday Night Menu

Hyper-local salad

Mesclun, Gravenstein apples and arugula blossoms (all from our backyard!) topped with toasted walnuts in a syrah & shallot vinaigrette

Grilled salmon

with romesco stuffing & sauteed Swiss chard

Although we’ve been eating the mesclun from our backyard for a few months now, I still can’t get over how much better it tastes when you snip it moments before you wash, dress and eat it. This was our first chard harvest, and the leaves were succulent and sweet — they didn’t even require seasoning. Below is a “recipe” for the simple preparation I used for the chard, plus the romanesco recipe (or, “delicious concoction”, as my husband called it).

Freshly harvested chard leaves

Sauteed Swiss Chard

for two

One bunch Swiss chard (about 10 big leaves)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

Olive oil

Wash the chard. Cut off the thick stems and chop them into 1/2-inch pieces. Arrange the leaves in a pile and cut them into strips about 2 inches wide.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic and shallot until it softens and starts to caramelize slightly. Add chard stems and saute for a minute or two. Cover the pan with a lid to allow the stems to steam, 2-3 minutes.

When the stems are barely fork-tender, add the leaves; saute to coat with the oil and mix with the stems, garlic and shallot. Cover with the lid again and steam until tender, another 2-3 minutes. Stir periodically to avoid burning the leaves.

Season with salt and pepper, and/or a few drops of sherry or red wine vinegar, if you like. But taste it first and see if it needs any of it!

    Sauteed chard: The finished state

    Romesco Stuffing

    for two smaller servings (remember, we’re back on the wagon!)

    1 red bell pepper

    1/2 thick slice country-style bread

    1 clove garlic, minced

    1/2 medium tomato or 1 small tomato, chopped

    1 tablespoon slivered almonds

    1/4 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, minced

    Juice from 1/8 lime 0r lemon

    Sherry vinegar

    Salt and pepper

    Olive oil

    Light a grill to medium-high heat. Grill pepper about 10 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes to char all sides evenly. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.

    In the meantime, heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Place the bread in the pan; fry one side then the other for a total of 4 minutes. Set aside. When cool, chop into 1/2-inch cubes.

    Put the same pan back on the heat; add a bit more olive oil if necessary. Add garlic, tomatoes and almonds and cook until all juices have evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.

    Take the pepper out of the bowl. Slip off the skins, pull off the top and remove the seeds. Chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

    In a medium bowl, mix together peppers, garlic mixture, bread, parsley and citrus juice. Drizzle olive oil on the mixture and add a few drops of vinegar; taste and add more vinegar and/or olive oil to your taste. Season with salt and pepper.

      What’s your favorite way to eat Swiss chard?

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      § 3 Responses to Sauteed Swiss Chard & Romesco Stuffing (RECIPE)

      • mai truong says:

        Hi Stephanie, Thanks for such a great post! I love your picture of the jalapa. And I’ve been eyeing making Romanesco sauce/stuffing ever since seeing it in the Ad Hoc cookbook. I will have to try your recipe, it looks really approachable. 🙂

        My absolute fool-proof-go-to chard recipe is inspired by Heidi from 101cookbooks.com. You simply heat up some olive oil in a large skillet, then toss in roughly chopped chard leaves (it should sizzle and spit) and a generous pinch of salt, cook it until the leaves just turn bright green, only a few minutes, then add an absurd amount of chopped garlic (really depends on how much you like, we eat about 5 cloves for two bunches of chard) and toss in the pan for 30 seconds just to take the raw edge off the garlic before moving it to a serving platter. Enjoy!

      • Kelly says:

        Woah!!! 90s are HOT for SF!! Still over 100 here but supposed to be ONLY 100 over the weekend. :O)

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