Summer produce is at its peak right now and this colorful, delicately delicious, and healthful “green” – rainbow chard is one of the best. I’ve grown it myself and never tire of the sweet tender flavors of chard simply prepared by steaming it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Today we got a delivery from our neighbors at Gill Farms and I was struck by the beauty of the colors of the stems sitting on the counter as I walked through the kitchen.
The preparation is so simple. Start by cutting the stems where they meet the leaves and then into 3″ pieces. Wash thoroughly and set to drain. Cut the leafy parts horizontally across the stem portion into 2″ strips and soak for a few minutes in water and then drain.
In a large pot, heat some olive oil and add chopped or sliced garlic. (Don’t let the oil get too hot, as the garlic will cook very quickly and you don’t want to let it burn.) While the garlic is cooking add the stems (still wet from draining) with a little salt and pepper, cover and let steam until almost tender. Now take big handfuls of the chard leaves, stir with tongs fully coating the leaves with the garlic oil and cooked stems. Turn the heat down low and cover letting everything cook until done. Check seasoning for salt and pepper, platter and serve.
Chard is delicious warm or at room temperature. In Sicily and Catalonia golden raisins and pine nuts are sometimes added and are a wonderful somewhat unexpected addition.