Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sauteed Rainbow Swiss Chard with Parmigiano Reggiano

An interesting fact ... Swiss chard did not originate in Switzerland; instead, it probably originated in Sicily.  This leafy vegetable, which is a descendant of the sea beet, is very common in both French and Italian cuisines.  So, how exactly did it get the name, "Swiss chard"?   The answer lies probably with seed catalogers in the 1800s, who gave the vegetable its name in order to distinguish it from French spinach varieties.   

Although catalogers sought to distinguish Swiss chard from spinach, the two vegetables share one thing in common ... they are very nutritious.  Swiss chard has a lot of vitamins A, C and K. It also more than thirteen polyphenol antioxidants, including kaempherol, which, according to medical studies, reduces the chance of certain types of cancer (like lung and pancreatic cancer) when consumed as part of a healthy diet.  Swiss chard also has syringic acid, which is believed to aid in the  regulation of blood sugar levels.

For me at least, there is a significant obstacle between all of that goodness and my stomach ... namely the bitterness of the raw vegetable.  I have learned to overcome this bitterness by sauteing chard, usually with a little butter and oil, along with other liquids, such as a dry white wine.  When I came across this recipe, it reminded me of the few times that I have made this vegetable in the past.  The recipe calls for the use of Parmesan cheese; and followers of this blog know that whenever a recipe calls for Parmesan, I only use Parmigiano Reggiano.  However, you can feel free to use other Parmesan cheese or other cheeses when making this recipe.


SAUTEED RAINBOW SWISS CHARD WITH PARMIGIANO REGGIANO
Adapted from Allrecipes.com 
Serves about 4

Ingredients:
1 bunch of rainbow Swiss chard (substitute regular Swiss Chard)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (like Parmigano Reggiano)
     (plus more to garnish)
Salt, to taste

Directions:
1.  Cut the stems and center ribs out of the leaves and dice the stems and center ribs.  Coarsely chop the leaves.
2. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Stir in garlic and onion, and continue to saute until the onions become translucent, which should take about five minutes.  Add the chard stems and white wine and continue to saute until they soften, which should take an additional five minutes.

3.  Sir in the chard leaves and cook until they become wilted.  Stir in the lemon juice and cheese and season with salt.

ENJOY!

For more information about Swiss chard, check out Wikipedia and World's Healthiest Foods.

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