Cooking with kale and swiss chard.
The Swiss chard you buy at the market may be the red or green variety. Both add a lovely color to dishes, along with a versatility that makes them perfect for a wide range of dishes. A close relative of the beet, Swiss chard is not actually "Swiss" but is thought to have originated from the Mediterranean and Near East. The leaves of chard are often used in recipes calling for spinach, adding a "bite," and the taste of the stem is reminiscent of celery.
Selection and storage
When choosing swell chard, look for crisp, heavy white or red stems and fresh, glossy leaves. Store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator unwashed and loosely wrapped in plastic.
Preparation and eating tips
Wash the chard well before using, and you may want to peel the ribs from the stalks if they are thick and mature. Separate the leaves from the stalks and cook separately, as the stalks take longer to cook. The leaves may be used in recipes calling for cooked spinach or greens. Swiss chard turns out wonderfully boiled, steamed or microwaved.
Chicken and Swiss Chard
4 cups swill chard, washed and drained
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces chicken breast, cubed
1 cup rice, cooked
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Cut stems off chard leaves and dice. Cut leaves into 1/2 inch strips
Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray.
Cook chard stems, onion, garlic and chicken over medium heat for about 8 minutes.
Add chard leaves and 2 tablespoons water, cook another 3 minutes until chard is limp
Add soy sauce and rice and cook another 2 minutes
To serve, divide mixture between 2 oven proof serving plates and sprinkle cheese evenly over top
Place under broiler for 2 minutes
There are two major types of kale. "Regular" kale is green to bluish green and flowering kale is vibrantly colored, purple with green or cream with green or all three colors. Both kales are members of the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables). Lightly steaming this vegetable transforms the young leaves to a brilliant green. Flowering kale, the peacock of kale, is primarily used as a garnish that adds a blaze of lacy color to your plate.
Selection and storage
Select moist, crimped, fresh looking leaves that are crisp and preferably chilled when purchased. It is worth the effort to look for bright green young kale which has a mild, delicate flavor and is tender. Avoid bunches that are Yellow, wilted or dried out, they lack vitamins A and C. To retain moisture, store kale in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Use a soon as possible for a milder flavor.
Preparation and eating
To prepare green kale, remove the tough stems then thoroughly clean the leaves. Drain. Kale can be prepared whole with the ribs attached (unless the ribs are coarse). To preserve vitamins, chop or cut the leaves into strips just before using. The strips are perfect for stir frying. Kale can be blanched in water for 4 to 6 minutes then sauteed in olive oil or margarine. For a Southern flavor, add bits of ham. Microwave, boil or steam in the least amount off water until tender. Add cooked kale to soups, stuffings, broths or salads. Kale can be frozen, just blanch for 2 minutes and freeze.
Use crisp leaves of flowering kale to create spectacular "bowls" and fill with your favorite salad. Fry flowering kale in oil for a delicious, crispy, edible garnish. Microwave, stir fry, boil or steam flowering kale as you would other greens and serve as a side dish.
Kale with onion stir fry
1 pound fresh green kale
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Clean kale and remove ribs. Spray wok or skillet with cooking spray.
Heat on high, add kale and onions.
Stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.
Reduce to medium heat and stir until kale and onions are tender crisp.
Makes 4 servings