Our first CSA pick-up is tomorrow, Tuesday, June 21st.
It is also, by chance, the first official day of summer.
This week the share is on the green side of things (the peonies are starting to end their stay here at the farm, otherwise it would be a pink and green share).
I think the show-stopper in this week's share is the first-picked Swiss Chard. Related to beets, this mighty green is chock full of vitamins and phytonutrients. Not to mention how beautiful it is: deep green with highlights of reds and yellows.
One of the major phytonutrients found in chard is syringic acid which has been shown to regulate blood sugar. In a similar vein (sorry!) chard has also been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties
Okay, okay, enough raving and on to the recipes!
Wash the greens in a big bowl (or sink) full of clean water, rinsing and swishing to rinse away any stubborn grit and dirt. Drain, and rinse again.
Like beets, chard has a very distinct flavor - a bit on the bitter side of the pallet. My favorite way to eat this leafy green is to wilt, or braise, it in coconut milk. The sweetness of the coconut balances the bitterness of the greens (our American pallets love sweetness and do not love bitterness). If you happen to have coconut milk in the cupboard, dig it out! If not, I've got another way for you to enjoy chard this week.
Coconut Swiss Chard
1 bunch Swiss Chard, stemmed,
1 can coconut milk
2 cloves galic
1 small handful raisins (optional, for the real sweet tooth)
salt to taste
pour just enough coconut milk into a sautee pan to cover the bottom
dice up garlic cloves, toss in to milk
meanwhile, tear up chard leaves into bite-sized pieces
now that the milk is hot and the garlic has had a tiny head start, toss in the chard and pour in most of the remaining coconut milk
**add raisins if you are aiming for sweet, they will plump up nicely while the greens cook**
stir, stir, stir until the chard is bright green, 2-4 minutes depending on the heat
use tongs or a big fork to fish out the greens from the thick-ish milk
Salt (if you want) and serve - hot!
Garlic greens (from 101cookbooks.com)
1 bunch Swiss chard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt
5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (opt)
crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet heat the olive oil
Add a couple big pinches of salt and the greens
Stir continuously until their color gets bright green, 2-4 minutes
Just before you pull the skillet from the heat, stir in the garlic
Saute a bit, remove the pan from the heat
Stir in the Parmesan if you are using any
Add a big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt, if needed, and serve-immediately!
happy solstice, all!