It's the season of overflowing market bags, heavy CSA boxes, and gardens run amok. Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra Cooks is showing us how to store, prep, and make the most of the bounty, without wasting a scrap.
Today: Learn how to prep and use (lots of) Swiss chard -- a savory slab galette with Gruyère is a great place to start.
A gardener’s dream, a farm stand beacon, a CSA staple -- chard is the reliable friend among the dark leafy greens, seemingly there at every turn, undemanding of time and attention, capable of adapting in every which way. And while it hasn’t quite achieved the celebrity status of kale, its versatility has long been celebrated throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East.
In the U.S., chard grows year-round in California and in much of the South, but in cooler regions, its season stretches from late spring to late fall. It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach, and its sturdy leaves and sharp flavor allow it to assume countless forms, from stratas and gratins to gnudi and fritters to pasta and lasagna.
This time of year, it’s hard not to focus solely on the local corn and tomatoes slowly making their way to market, but Swiss chard, too, can taste surprisingly summery. And although chard most often benefits from being cooked, it too can be eaten raw, finely chopped and dressed with lemon, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan. This preparation perhaps best highlights chard's versatility, its ability to adapt to every season. And I suspect that once the world embraces raw chard, kale’s reign might at last see its end.
A quick sauté with onions and garlic will strip away any mineral flavors, soften its ruffled leaves and rainbow ribs, and draw out its sweetness. Sautéed chard makes a lovely side dish on its own, but it also can be stirred into pastas, layered into gratins, or spread across a buttery cornmeal dough and baked into a savory Gruyère-topped galette, as I've done below. Served warm or at room temperature aside a light green salad, this slab galette will feed a crowd, and in the process free your fridge of those cumbersome bundles monopolizing prime realty.
More: Learn all about dark leafy greens.
To store and prep your chard:
More ideas for cooking your chard:
More: Chard stems can even be pickled for a crunchy snack.
Makes 24 slices
For the galette:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed (about 500 grams, post-stemming)
1 batch of Cornmeal Galette Dough
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 cup grated Gruyère or Comté
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk or cream
For the cornmeal galette dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup ice water
Photos by Alexandra Stafford
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now