Anna Klinger's Grilled Swiss Chard Stems with Anchovy Vinaigrette

By • September 25, 2012 11 Comments

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Author Notes: Swiss chard stems have the same mineral flavor as the leaves, but lack their gloss and buoyant texture. Chef Anna Klinger, faced with mountains of leftover stems, teases out their innate sweetness by blanching them in well-salted water, grilling them, then swaddling them in an anchovy vinaigrette. Adapted from Chef Anna Klinger of Al Di La restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn.Genius Recipes

Serves 4

Anchovy Vinaigrette

  • 2 ounces anchovies (preferably salt-packed, cleaned, rinsed, and soaked in a few changes of milk -- see note)
  • 1/2 ounce minced garlic (about 3 small cloves)
  • 3/4 cup + 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (or more to taste)
  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined but still a little chunky. This makes a large quantity. It keeps well and tastes good on everything.
  2. Note: To soak anchovy fillets, cover in milk by about an inch for 12-24 hours, changing the milk once or twice. Taste them periodically for saltiness. They're ready when they have the level of saltiness you like. If over-soaked, they could end up very bland.

Grilled Swiss Chard Stems

  • Stems from 1 large bunch Swiss chard (save greens for another use)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Anchovy Vinaigrette (above)
  • Splash sherry vinegar
  1. Wash the chard stems, cut off any dark edges, and cut into 5 to 6-inch lengths.
  2. Blanch stems in salted boiling water in batches till just tender, about 2 minutes per batch, then transfer to an ice bath. It is very important to follow all the rules of blanching and not overcrowd the pot. Any shortcuts here results in the color turning black.
  3. Dry the blanched stems, toss them lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place them on the grill in a single layer. Grill long and slow until they become quite dark and charred but not burned.
  4. Toss with the Anchovy Vinaigrette and a splash of sherry vinegar. Serve warm.
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Comments (11) Questions (1)

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about 1 month ago Heidihelm

Is there any vinegar in the vinaigrette?

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5 days ago tamater sammich

You're right Heidyhelm, it's not very well designated in this recipe, because it says "anchovy vinaigrette, (above)" and it's not there, above, But the last ingredient in the lower list says "splash sherry vinegar" To me, that would be start with a tablespoon, and go from there, by taste.
BTW, I don't have a grill, and don't get the oven going in summer, and I find not pre-blanching them, but sautéing in 1/2 olive oil 1/2 butter, with good salt, works fine. I sauté them with diced onion, we love them.
I'd try this recipe above, but there's no chance of getting anchovy fillets in this lil' backwater village I'm in!

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over 1 year ago dorifern

I did a cooking internship at Al Di La the summer of 2000, while seven months pregnant with my son and this was the dish I was in charge of making :) The dressing really is good on (just about) anything. I would probably toss the blanched and dried stems in oil and roast them at 425 (about 7-10 minutes, turning once) vs broiling to get an even caramelization without risk of burning.

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about 2 years ago jlp

anyone living in Columbus Ohio should not try these - call me & I will come & dispose of those nasty chard stems for you

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about 2 years ago chez la mere

something really good....throw stems into mason jar with brine and a chunk of red beet and pickle the stems. The best pickle I ever ate, almost as good as pickled asparagas

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over 2 years ago Sipa

I wonder if this would work well with kale stems, I have a crisper bin full of it.

C8d0fb81-32c9-4937-82ed-fbb6792b65a0.miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I think it's definitely worth trying with kale stems -- just make sure they get nice and tender.

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almost 3 years ago JORJ

Do you think achieve a similar effect under the broiler? I don't have a grill.

C8d0fb81-32c9-4937-82ed-fbb6792b65a0.miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yes! I think it would be similar, though I haven't tried it.

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almost 3 years ago goodie

Will this work w tinned anchovies if you cant get the salted? Would you still rinse them in milk? And do you retain any of the milk on the last rinse for the vinaigrette? Looks great!

C8d0fb81-32c9-4937-82ed-fbb6792b65a0.miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Goodie, sorry for the delay! Just rinse the oil-packed ones well. Alternately, Food52er HalfPint recommended soaking them in milk for 30 minutes -- if you do it overnight, they'll disintegrate. Either way, you'll want to adjust the final dressing to your taste anyway, and the soaking is just there to reduce the saltiness of the salt-packed kind. I didn't include the milk in the dressing because the recipe didn't call for it (and it will keep in the fridge longer without the milk), but it would probably be good!