For Swiss Chard Overdrive week, I needed a weeknight side dish. I sure wasn’t going to use up all my Swiss chard if I waited for the weekend.
Here is a fancy update to my basic sauteed Swiss chard, using the classic Mediterranean combination of greens, pine nuts, and raisins. The sweet raisins and creamy, nutty pine nuts match well with the slightly bitter greens; I add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end for a sour edge that perks up the flavors. And, really, it is the same amount of work as my basic Swiss chard. Just add the pine nuts and raisins after sauteing the stems. That’s it – suddenly I have a much more complex side dish than the basic version.
*Which makes me wonder – what took me so long to figure this one out?
Puzzled by what to do with the Swiss chard in your CSA box? Try this recipe, and you’ll never leave the chard in the vegetable adoption bin again.
Recipe: Swiss Chard Sauteed With Pine Nuts and Raisins
Swiss Chard Sauteed With Pine Nuts and Raisins
Inspired By: Pam Anderson How to Cook Without a Book
- 12″ frying pan with a lid (I like my All-Clad 12 inch nonstick fry pan for this, but any 12″ pan with a lid will do)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bunch Swiss chard (roughly 12 ounces)
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup raisins (preferably currants)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
For an overview of the basic technique, see my Swiss Chard Saute
1. Prep the chard and onion: Separate the leaves of the Swiss chard from the stems. I do this by folding the leaf on my cutting board, along the stem. Then I run my knife down the edge of the stem, separating both sides of the leaf from the stem. Slice the stems into 1/4 inch slices, and cut the leaves into 1 inch slices. Trim, peel, and dice the onion.
If the chard has dirt on it, I fill a salad spinner with water to clean it. I separate the stems from the leaves first, then I swish the stems in the water in the spinner to clean them. I slice the leaves, and put them into the water in the spinner. Then I use the spinner to rinse and dry the leaves.
2. Saute the onions and the chard stems: Heat the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sliced stems and the onions, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the pine nuts and raisins, and toss to combine.
3. Steam the Leaves: Add the leaves to the pan, sprinkle with 1 tsp kosher salt, and toss to combine. Pour in the 1/4 cup of water, cover the pan, and cook for five minutes or until the leaves are tender.
4. Season and serve: Remove the lid, grind the black pepper on top of the chard, add the balsamic vinegar, and toss to combine. Taste a leaf, and add more salt if necessary (it usually needs an extra 1/2 tsp of kosher salt). Remove to a platter and serve.
Use regular chard instead of the Swiss chard. It isn’t as pretty, but it tastes just as good.
Use butter in place of the olive oil.
Golden raisins are another good option, but I like currants because the small size helps them blend into the dish.
I buy pine nuts in larger quantities (usually about a cup’s worth), and toast them all at once, then store them in the refrigerator until I need them. If I dont’ have any already toasted, the first step of this recipe becomes…toast the pine nuts. Heat the fry pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the raw pine nuts. Cook, stirring and tossing often, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until most of the nuts are lightly browned. Be very careful – pine nuts burn in a heartbeat. Keep the moving, and pull them off the heat the moment you see some getting dark brown. Move to a plate, let cool, then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a couple of months.
The leaves take up a lot of space until they start to wilt. If you want to double this recipe, use a 6 quart or larger dutch oven. You will need the extra space to fit all the leaves before they wilt.
I usually cook this in a nonstick fry pan, but you don’t have to. It works just as well in a regular fry pan.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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