Swiss Chard: Bright and Beautiful

Béatrice Peltre offers a recipes featuring hearty Swiss chard.

To describe Swiss chard as a “green” just isn’t right; this leafy vegetable comes in a magnificent spectrum of summer colors, from popsicle pink and creamsicle orange to lemon yellow and cherry red.

Chard is a unique vegetable, its wide, watery stems resembling bok choy in taste and texture, while its leaves recall the taste and texture of spinach and beet greens (which belong to the same subspecies as chard).

Some people don’t like chard, but often that’s because they’ve never cooked it the right way: paired with tangy ingredients and other strong flavors and textures to balance out chard’s distinct, earthy taste. In the recipes I’ve provided, citrus, yogurt, garlic, and fresh herbs add brightness and zing.

When it’s in season, I get a lot of chard in my weekly farm share box,
so the sautéed chard dish with citrus and pine nuts has become a weeknight staple for me and my family. When I have colorful varieties of chard, I keep younger stems and add them both for texture and for the unique beauty they provide. And I never have to tell my daughter to “eat her greens” with this dish—perhaps because it’s so pretty.

My take on tzatziki featuring chard is a hearty alternative to the tradi- tional cucumber-yogurt dip. Replacing cucumber with chard gives the yogurt dip a thicker consistency. You can decide how to finely to chop the chard; the finer the chop, the smoother the dip. I like mine on the chunky side, so each bite feels substantial. À votre santé et bon appétit.

Tzatziki with Swiss Chard, Fresh Mint, and Lime

Serves 4

1 cup green Swiss chard leaves, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled Sea salt

1 tablespoon lime juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 6 ounces whole milk

Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

Pita wedges toasted,

to serve (or crackers)

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside.

In a pot, bring a large volume of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Blanch the chard leaves for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer to the ice-water bath; set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic with a pinch of sea salt. Add pepper, lime juice, and olive oil. Stir in the yogurt, mint, and Swiss chard. Transfer to a small bowl.

Serve with pita wedges or crackers.