Making its debut

My Swiss chard would like to announce that it is very fussy about getting its picture taken, and that it will only pose for someone using crazy 800 speed, neon color film. Here it is, making its cover-shot debut.

Ta daa! It would also like you to know that it is very picky about what touches its skin, and that it is thrilled to have been picked and cleaned and to have the pollen washed off, finally. It was just about at its breaking point with that stuff—spots, rivers, dust, and all. (Here my car and my sinuses would like to chime in, and say that they are feeling a little bit like Winnie the Pooh, walking around all day saying "Tut-tut, feels like rain!" and kind of wishing it would. They are fed up with pollen, too, only there's nothing they can do.)

What my Swiss chard doesn't know is that getting picked usually means the end is near. The warm, hot, buttery end, around here. It's not a bad way to go, but still. It isn't all roses and picket fences on the other side of the yellow dirt.

These days, everything seems to be meeting that sort of end. It all goes the same way: into the big, deep stainless skillet with a big pat of butter over a high blue flame. I've tried to think of more creative burials, but I keep coming back to this one simple preparation. It's a bit repetitive, but really, I don't think it's me.

Spring simply tastes good this way.

Sometimes, I'll add a little garlic and chicken broth in too, especially with Swiss chard. There's something about the Swiss chard juice that asks for it—without a little padding, it tends to kind of squeak around in your mouth, the way spinach and grapefruit salads sometimes do. That's a feeling a little splash of chicken broth can do wonders for.

Otherwise, I don't really like to mess with my Swiss chard too much. It's so simple, so elegant, and so fussy about its looks, that it never seems like a good idea to touch it beyond a bit of heat.

I hope you're enjoying spring, too.


If you have a garden, Swiss chard is one of the easiest greens to grow. It takes a little while to get rolling, but once it starts growing, there will be plenty to go around. There are more tips on growing it over here.

As for this recipe, it's one of my favorites. It's nothing special or complicated, but it makes an excellent noontime snack. I like to eat it with a piece of toast, and maybe a hunk of cheese.

1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound Swiss chard, washed and patted dry
1/2 cup chicken broth

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted and the pan is very hot, throw in the garlic and cook it for about 30 seconds, stirring quickly the whole time so it doesn't brown. Turn up the heat to high and immediately pour in half the chicken broth, allowing it to reduce by about half. Turn down the heat to low, add the Swiss chard and the remaining chicken broth, and cover for about a minute. Stir, cover again for about a minute, and serve warm in a bowl with the broth.


E L said...

"That's a feeling a little splash of chicken broth can do wonders for."

Bacon fat accomplishes this well also. I love swiss chard! It goes so well with garlic and a bit of chile flakes as well. Takes strong bold flavors just as nicely as more gentler ones, and provides a wonderfully bitter counterpart to richer foods like barbecue.

Happy summer cooking!

Emily said...

Thanks for the tip! It'll be a nice addition to tonight's dinner of leftovers. My kale and collard greens are about ready for their demise as well - any suggestions for those?

Elspeth said...


Bacon fat is good at most things, I find. Excellent idea!


Leftover dinners are sometimes my favorites. They force a strange kind of creativity that makes for unexpected combinations. I'll have to think on something simple for the kale and collard greens, but in general, I love both in soup.

Happy summer cooking to both of you as well!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm, spring and summer greens: I'm so happy to see them! This sounds simple and good. ~A Maine Reader

Tara said...

Swiss chard is one of my favorites, and mine is looking just glorious right now. We have to eat a lot of it, as it's beginning to get pushy and crowd into other things. I think that's a good problem to have. :)

Elspeth said...

Tara, a very good problem to have!


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