I am shocked. I had been wracking my brain trying desperately to write something garden-y amid late winter doldrums that would somehow resonate, and Bam! I hit the health-food jackpot. The outpouring in support of chard, sleeper vegetable of the year, has been overwhelming.
Here I was bravely choking down the stuff in the name of health when there are hundreds upon thousands of chard fanatics with a deep understanding of this under-appreciated vegetable. You already knew why to serve it. You even know how to grow it. But more to the point, you really know how it should be eaten. Hint: it can be crunchy!
Ok, crunchy chard. I am intrigued…go on. Where will this wacky nutritious hero pop up next?
Funny I should ask myself, because I happen to have an answer. With summer just around the corner (and down the street and around the bend) thoughts turn to carnivals (work with me here.) Blue skies, balloons, and loads of good clean American deep-fried fun. Wait, hear me out. I’m not suggesting you call it quits and break out the fryer, I’m simple setting the scene for our new crunchy, healthy friend….
Speaking of friends, my friend Annie is incredible. Awesome, amazing Annie. She’s a magician who miraculously took our bitter, vitamin-packed pal and presto! change-o! Turned it into a crispy, carnival-worthy, snickity old snack.
And here, for the first time in North America, Annie has willingly revealed her secret for changing a nutrient packed yuck into a nutrient-packed yum.
Now I’m not going to lie to you. This recipe works best if you’ve got a top hat and a long black cape lined in purple satin. Of course you can try it wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Results may vary.
(Worried about me? Think I’m showing just a bit too much enthusiasm for chard? Perhaps, but it has been a long winter. And all I’m asking is that you try it first. Then come on back and judge me.)
1. Wash the chard.
2. Slice and remove the stalks. Set aside for salads or other recipe.
3. Slice the leaves in half or quarters. Set aside to dry.
You’ll need a light dressing. Mine was a simple vinaigrette, but anything will do; whatever you’ve got got in the house or throw together some of your favorite flavors. I made a tray plain for the girls, with just a little oil and salt.
Mix together the dressing:
• ½ cup Olive oil
• ¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
• 1-2 Tbsp Mustard
• 2-3 Tbsp crushed garlic
• Salt and pepper to taste.
1. Toss the chard leaves in the dressing. Make sure to coat the leaves but they should not be drenched.
2. Lay the chard flat on a greased baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle with a little salt.
Bake for 7-8 minutes in 375° oven. Watch closely so leaves crisp but don’t char.
Your guests, even your children, will be amazed!