Swiss chard is a delicious and beautiful vegetable. Even though it is available all year long now in our supermarkets, it reminds me of summer. This is the time of year that my mother would prepare it. As a child in the 50s and early 60s, we used to have a”vegetable truck” that came to our neighborhood twice a week with bushels of whatever fruits and vegetables were in season. “Cappy” drove a converted old school bus, painted green. It was so much fun to climb inside and look at all the fresh produce. He was a friendly man, who continued this service well into the 1980s, even though his business was replaced with mega supermarkets and specialty stores. Also as women entered the work force, they were not home during the day and often stopped at the grocery store on their way home from work. Take-out food began it’s popularity, even in the suburbs. But back in the day, my mom and the other women in the neighborhood would buy whatever looked good that week. There were always some vegetables that did not look familiar to most, but my mom knew how to make almost any vegetable taste delicious. Of course she did…..garlic, olive oil and tomatoes!
I love preparing swiss chard this way. I always make extra because it is wonderful on top of pasta. I just heat up the left overs (maybe add a little more oil and sautéd garlic), and combine with my favorite pasta. Add some grated Parmigiano cheese, and you have a scrumptious, healthy meal in minutes.
2 bunches swiss chard
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced thickly
1 onion, chopped
1/2 (28 ounce) can Italian Plum (San Marzano) tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1. Separate stalks from the leaves. Clean them well by putting them in two different pots of cold water. Keep changing the water until they are free from dirt and the water is clear.
2. Put the stalks in one pot and the greens in another, covered with water. Bing to a boil. Cook the stalks for 25 minutes and the greens for 20. Drain.
3. In a large fry pan or pot, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, squishing them in your hands before adding. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat and stirring. Add all the swiss chard to this pot, and add a little water (maybe just a tablespoon or two). Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the seasoning again before serving.