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Merrill's baby Clara has quite the appetite -- and it's all Merrill can do to keep up. Armed with her greenmarket bag, a wooden spoon and a minimal amount of fuss, she steps into the fray.
Today: Merrill makes chard salad, inspired by date night.
For some reason, I always forget about what a great idea it is to add toasted breadcrumbs to a salad. Until someone reminds me.
Since Clara was born nearly two years ago, my husband and I do our best to schedule a date night every couple of weeks -- although we're not as disciplined about it as we should be. A few weeks ago we had dinner at the bar at one of our local haunts, called Stone Park Cafe, and when the bartender launched into a description of a special salad they were featuring that evening, I knew I had to try it: it was a shredded chard salad with garlic breadcrumbs, lemon dressing and Parmesan.
Now we've all probably had something like this salad before, but most likely it was made with kale, not chard. Don't get me wrong -- I love kale as much as the next Brooklynite. But it was refreshing to see that someone had decided to go a different route with chard instead. And did I mention the garlic breadcrumbs?
I had to fight my husband for the last few bites of that salad. It was a bright, grassy tangle of chard, tossed with coarse, fresh breadcrumbs that had been crisped with just a whisper of garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. A lemon dressing and a good sprinkling of Parmesan cheese gave it brightness and depth. Knowing her fondness for salads, I had a feeling Clara might like this too.
Sure enough, when I recreated it at home the following week, there were three of us fighting for the last bite.
Inspired by Stone Park Cafe
Serves 4 as a starter
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cups grated Parmesan
Photos by James Ransom