Simple Cooking: Eat More Chard

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 5, 2013 7:10PM

2013_6_5_Chard.jpg
Photo via Shutterstock.

Farmers markets everywhere are swimming in greens. Early summer is the time to eat amazing salads, put spinach in everything and try to figure out how to actually use amaranth. Our obsession with Kale has reached cult-like proportions, and every variety (except the creepy red kale) sells out within the first hour. At the same time, neglected rainbows of chard peek out from all over the place - and too many people walk right on by. How do we eat this bounty?

There are great chard recipes all over the internet. You can simply saute it, cook it with mushrooms or mix it with summer herbs for a quick salad. You can throw it into fritatas, top pizza with it and even make pickles out of the stems.

Our favorite way to deal with excess chard is in a one-pot Italian-ish dish that we think originally came from Lidia Bastianich before we completely changed it. It's not particularly pretty, but it takes about 5 minutes and has all the elements of a hearty, healthy and satisfying meal. Best of all, apart from the chard itself, it doesn't require any special ingredients.

Start buying chard. Don't let it be the neglected green of summer.

Swiss Chard with Cannellini Beans and Tomato

2 pounds swiss chard, stems remove and cut into 2-inch pieces.
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 can of cannelini beans, drained
1 shallot, sliced
3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 egg (optional)

In the largest skillet you own, heat up the olive oil. Once it's nice and hot, throw in the garlic, shallots and crushed red pepper. Wait about 30 seconds. Toss in the chard. You'll hear a lot of popping sounds - be sure to toss the chard regularly, because it'll deflate fast.

Once the chard has decreased in size by about half, throw in the tomato sauce and beans. Toss everything to combine and heat through, and cook for about another 2 minutes.

If you feel ambitious, move the chard while it's still pretty big and make a little nest in the middle. Crack one egg into it, add salt and pepper and cover the pan. After about 2 minutes, you'll have a lovely soft-cooked egg to mix into the dish.

Serve with bread for a complete 1-pot meal.