After my dismal first attempt at growing a tray of Swiss Chard for my Sustainable Agriculture class, I’ve been paying much closer attention to the second round of plantings. It’s been fascinating to watch the little sprouts emerge from the nutrient rich soil. They really start to look like miniature versions of the prehistoric-like leaves commonly found when they mature. I expect the theme song to the Jurassic Park movies will be running through my head when it’s time to harvest.
I traveled the 40 minute drive up to the Chatham University Eden Hall Farm to transplant my little darlings into more spacious accommodations. It took every ounce of focus to ensure my manly hands didn’t crush the delicate roots. Thankfully, I finished transplanting with very little carnage.
In honor of my new found green thumb, I decided to pick-up a couple of bundles of fully grown chard at the market for dinner. When eaten raw, chard tends to have a slightly bitter taste. The flavor then becomes more refined when sautéed in butter and oil. I also like the bit of heat the red pepper flakes bring to this simple side dish.
Sautéed Swiss Chard
1 ½ Tbl. butter
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 Tbl. garlic, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2 bunches fresh Swiss Chard, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
Remove the stems from the chard leaves and cut them into 1 inch pieces. Roll the leaves and cut crosswise into ½ inch strips. Set both aside in separate bowls.
Melt the butter with the oil and red pepper flakes in a large sauté pan over a medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Next add the cut stems and cook while stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes. Finally, add the leafy strips to the pan and toss to coat in the liquid mixture. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes or until the leaves are tender. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. Lightly season the mixture with salt and pepper before serving. Serves approximately 4 people as a side dish.
Authors Note: I found salt tends to draw out the water in the chard during the cooking process making for excess liquid. That is way I recommend seasoning at the end.