July 12, 2009

Rainbow Chard With Pancetta

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a very colorful yummy vegetable dish

My favorite time during the summer is mid-July until the first week of August when the markets are brimming with fresh local produce such as rainbow chard and sour cherries. This is also the time that fresh figs appear at large groceries and Costco.

One of the leafy vegetables that makes me get up early on Saturdays to go to the farmers market is the rainbow chard. This large-leafed vegetable, the leaves are 1½ feet long and a foot wide, is mild but tasty and visually appealing before and after cooking. It has a hint of bitterness not unlike arugula but it is not as bitter as broccoli rabe and it has no off-putting odor when cooked.

colors range from light to darker pinks and oranges, yellow, and red

I usually prepare this vegetable simply sautéed in olive oil, shallot, salt, a pinch of Spanish sweet pimenton, raisins, and pine nuts; very good as a side dish or to make into a vegetarian sandwich.

This time for variety I browned diced pancetta and omitted the fruits, nuts, and pimenton. Delicious!.

Rainbow Chard With Pancetta
½ cup diced pancetta or thick-cut unsmoked bacon
1 bunch rainbow chard or regular Swiss chard
¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
1 teaspoon salt
  • Clean the vegetables under running water, shake off excess water. Cut off 2 inches from the stem end and discard, roll the leaves and cut the chard, leaves and stems, into ½ inch slices, (or chop the leaves into 1 inch pieces if preferred). Set aside.
  • Heat a large wok and saute pancetta until brown and slightly crisp. Transfer into a small plate and set aside.
  • Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat in the wok, add the shallots and cook until soft. Put the chard, pancetta, and salt into the wok and stir fry for 1 minute, cover the wok, and cook on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until chard is wilted and tender but still crisp. Transfer into a serving dish.


caninecologne said...

hi there! another gorgeous post - i love swiss chard; i am growin the regular green one in our backyard. i like getting the rainbow variety at the local farmer's markets...chard tastes sweeter than collard greens (another fave green of mine). i'm loving your summer food posts! :)

Oggi said...

Hi R, is it easy to grow? I might try them from seeds next year. This is one of the most popular veggies at our farmer's market.

caninecologne said...

it seems pretty easy. they are in pots and we hand water them. my parents gave me the chard plants, along with collard and alugbati.

Oggi said...

It's late in the season but I ordered seeds and will plant them and bring them indoors during winter. Currently I have a few tomato plants and 4 types of smallish sweet green peppers.

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