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Sweet Hot Swiss Chard
by Bharti Kirchner

Swiss ChardSwiss chard is one of the tastiest of all hearty greens and is nearly a staple for me during the growing season. The sturdy firm-textured leaves take well to bold seasonings, particularly Asian. In this recipe, the earthy flavor of Chinese plum and hoisin sauces complement the sour, salty flavor of the chard. Italian balsamic vinegar adds a hint of mellow sweetness.

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil or garlic oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced
12 large Swiss chard leaves, coarsely chopped, stems diced
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons plum sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
rosemary-garlic croutons

1. In hot oil in a wok or large skillet, sauté onion until richly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir several times. Add Swiss chard. Lower the heat slightly. Cover and cook until the greens are wilted and tender to the bite, five to seven minutes. Overcooking will destroy their color.

2. Combine hoisin and plum sauces and the vinegar in a small bowl, and pour over the greens. Toss gently. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for a few minutes. Serve garnished with the croutons.

Yield: 2 entrée or 4 side-dish servings

Note for the gardener: The high-yielding Swiss chard provides large quantities of leafy greens throughout the season from one sowing. Harvest the leaves and more will grow in their place.

From The Bold Vegetarian by Bharti Kirchner (1995), compliments of HarperPerennial Publishers.


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