One pan. A bit of olive oil. Cauliflower florets. Salt and pepper. A few shards of Parmesan. Maybe a dusting of ground cayenne. Dinner is done. For nights when a little is better. Or for when you need a little extra-special side that’s ultra-easy.
I occasionally buy too many vegetables because I’m crazy about them. That’s pretty close to how it is. While I like fruit, I love vegetables. I really like meat; I adore fish. But vegetables just do something for me. It has often occurred to me that I’m so attracted to them because they exist in infinite variety, colors, shapes, tastes, textures, sizes, and even styles–think Thai or Japanese eggplant and see below…
Meat comes in brown.
In Saint Paul, we have a plethora of farmer’s markets. Naturally the best–or largest– is on Saturday mornings downtown. And, if you’re hungry, you can have a great breakfast sandwich and a big coffee from Golden’s Deli. But if you don’t have the time or the inclination (it’s crowded), you can go to one of the other markets.
On Thursdays, you can go to the Capitol. It’s a small market, but is full of the best of the best. Like tomatoes.
Or Swiss chard, which, if you haven’t had it, is a lot like spinach, but tastier–
Chard has a slightly bitter taste and is used in a variety of cultures around the world, including Arab cuisine.
Fresh young chard can be used raw in salads. Mature chard leaves and stalks are typically cooked (like in pizzoccheri) or sauteed; their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a refined flavor which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach. Nutritional chart at bottom.
Last Thursday, my friend Kim drove me down to the Capitol for a quick market shop. As always, I bought way more than I needed, but out of that great bounty came this sweet side… The tomatoes are from my own garden.
Leftovers? Heat up a small skillet, add about a half-cup of the chard mixture and let warm through. Stir in two well-beaten, seasoned eggs and let cook until eggs are done to your liking. Breakfast is served.
|Leftovers with eggs for breakfast.
swiss chard-sweet corn scramble with cherry tomatoes+parm
2 large or 4 smaller servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Generous pinch crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped (Vidalia or Walla Walla)
- Corn kernels cut from one cooked ear of corn (boiled, grilled, or microwaved), about 1/2 cup
- 2-3 cups Swiss chard, chopped finely (greens and stems)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated, plus a little extra for garnish
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped–plus a few extra for garnish
In a large, deep skillet, heat oil with red pepper over medium-high heat for thirty seconds. Add onion and corn, stir, and cook 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are just softening. Stir in chard and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until chard is tender, and has wilted. Add garlic, Parmesan, and tomatoes. Let cook 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with a few ounces of rare beef filet, medium-rare pork tenderloin, or with sauteed wild mushrooms stirred into Minnesota wild rice. Garnish with a bit of Parmesan and the rest of the tomatoes.
All parts of the chard plant contain oxalic acid.Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, with a 175 g serving containing 214%, 716%, and 53%, respectively, of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein.
* courtesy Wikipedia
Sing a new song; cook some fresh chard,