Monday, July 7, 2008

Swiss Chard with garlic and oil

This is the easiest recipe that's worth putting down in print.

1 bunch of Swiss Chard from the market, or as much as there is to pick in the garden.
3 or 4 cloves of garlic
Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper

Wash the Swiss Chard even if it comes from the garden and looks perfectly clean. Even if your garden is well fenced birds and bugs are doing things down there that you almost always do in a special room in the house. As you wash the chard strip the veins out of the stalks.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on medium in the bottom of a deep pot while you peel and chop the garlic cloves. If you want to enjoy this this the way mom and Aunt Mary Raimo made it when they were in a hurry chop the first clove very carefully and fine, then take a few quick whacks at the next clove and at least a whack or two at the last two cloves.

Throw the chopped garlic into the oil and then cut the stalks of the Swiss Chard crosswise into pieces about one inch long. Throw the chopped stalks into the oil with the garlic, hopefully before the garlic starts to get that slightly sweet burned smell that means it's suitable only for the most refined tastes.

Next roll up the Swiss Chard leaves like a big fat cigar, slice it lengthwise once, and slash it crosswise a couple of times before throwing the pieces on top of the simmering stalks and garlic. Sprinkle a half teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper over the top of the big mound of chard leaves and then cover the pot and turn the burner to low.

The beauty of Swiss Chard is that it's almost impossible to overcook it. It should be more or less done steaming and cooking down in a half-hour during which time you can cook the rest of the dinner, and it won't hurt it to steam in that pot for an hour if you occasionally stir it to keep it from burning on the bottom.

If it seems to have too much liquid in it after it's mostly cooked leave the cover off the pot for a while and the liquid will vaporise and join the great hydrologic cycle of the earth perhaps to fall as rain in the Sudan where they need it.

The other day my brother Sam told me Swiss Chard was recently named as one of the ten healthiest foods by the chard growers association or some other such reliable source. But anyone who has eaten the stuff already knows it's healthy. Suffice it to say that a big Swiss Chard eater today will not suffer from biliousness tomorrow.

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