Veggie of the Week - Swiss Chard
sponsored by Coleman Farms
Swiss Chard is the leaves of a beetless beet. Chard leaves are typically larger than beety beet greens, have a crinkly texture and are a bit thicker, but the taste and 'properties' are pretty much the same.
Like spinach, Chard contains oxalic acid, and can have a greater or lesser degree of tartness. And Chard can be used much like spinach - taking just the leaves (separate from the rib) to chop and add to mixed salad, or chop finer for use in dip or tabouleh.
Chard is probably more often thought of as cooked, and it does make a nice green on its own, simply steamed. Here, though, it does have an advantage over spinach, as it seems to mix better with other greens - the Kales or Cabbage, for example, or finely julienned carrots, any of which welcome a complement of onion or garlic. The texture and mouth feel of Chard cooperate with this kind of mixing much better than that of spinach.
You could take such a mixture - washed and chopped - and stirr/braise a few minutes until tender, then use it to top pasta, add pinto or borlotti beans to make a main course, or add beaten eggs and end up with a fritatta. And that's only a start. For example, more mature Chard, with heavy ribs, can be used ribs and all, covered with a cheesy bechamel and put in the oven until set.
Available from Coleman Farms, Rudy Dominguez, and other vendors.