Provençal Daydreams: Sautéed Chard
This post is by Full Circle’s resident Farm Foodie – Debra Dubief
A recent conversation with friends about travel plans and desires quickly had us all talking about our favorite warm weather destinations. Pretty soon my head was off in the clouds of southern France, conjuring up visions of stone farm houses, periwinkle shutters and the amazing foods of Provence. This sent me rummaging through our closet bookshelves for a long-ignored French cookbook. I recalled this beautiful coffee table book held an all too rare combination of gorgeous photographs and delicious, home cook-friendly recipes and was immediately inspired to whip up my own little slice of French nirvana.
Thumbing through this book I ran across a recipe that I immediately remembered as being a magnificent treat. That memory sparked a yearning for this creamy tart of Swiss chard, currants, pine nuts and goat cheese that I was determined to do something about. With no time for tart shells and baking, I decided to turn the two beautiful bunches of chard I had into a quick and tasty side dish — sans tart shell. Knowing these flavors made a sublime combination was recipe enough. I simply braised my chard as usual, tossed in some raisins plumped in warmed sherry to replace the currants and added goat cheese and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts at the end.
Instead of the more time-consuming tart, we had a slightly decadent side dish that made our chard special and allowed me to continue on with my sunny, Provençal farmhouse fantasies awhile longer.
Sautéed Chard with Pine Nuts, Goat Cheese and Currants
2 bunches Swiss chard, washed
1/2 cup sherry, warmed
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce fresh chevre
Chop off the bottom inch of the chard stems and discard. Cut remaining stems and center ribs away from chard leaves. Chop stems and center ribs thin, then cut leaves cross-wise into roughly two-inch strips. Set aside, keeping stems and leaves separate.
Add currants (or raisins) to warmed sherry, cover and let steep 15 minutes.
Heat a large, dry sauté pan to medium hot and toss the pine nuts for a few moments until oils are released and nuts are lightly browned. Remove nuts from pan and set aside.
Add oil to the pan and bring to medium heat until hot but not smoking and sauté garlic until fragrant and soft. Remove garlic, roughly chop and set aside once cool.
Return pan to stove and raise heat to medium hot, add reserved stems and ribs and sauté until crisp-tender. Add reserved leaves with water clinging to them and cook, turning with tongs, until wilted.
Add the sherry with the raisins and reserved garlic, toss well and cook, covered, over moderate heat until leaves are tender, about 4 minutes.
Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and crumbled chevre.