Following my last post about the too-amazing-for-words Tunnel of Fudge cake, I felt I needed to go lighter in this one….a lot lighter. So, I made April Bloomfield’s super simple Swiss Chard with Olive oil. She is my new favourite chef. The leaves were tender and glistening. The fresh garlic and fruity olive oil flavours really came through. It tastes like freshness in your mouth. I think this is because the garlic and olive oil are not cooked with the greens. They are incorporated ‘raw’, before serving. Also, I found that grating the garlic on a microplane allows the flavour to release and disperse through the dish more evenly. Note: A little grated garlic goes a long way so, as with this dish, if the recipe only calls for 1/4tsp, it will be enough, trust me.
Some background on Bloomfield
So, I got my new cookbook – A Girl and her Pig by Arpil Bloomfield and I couldn’t be happier. She is a chef who hails from England, is working in New York and specializes in Italian Cuisine. To me this = Bonus, Bonus, Bonus! I will definitely have to check out her famed gastro-pub, The Spotted Pig, next time I’m in NYC.
I recently discovered her on the PBS series called The Mind of a Chef (on Netflix) . I absolutely love that show. It is entertaining as well as educational. Although, viewers beware! It will make you hungry. It will make you want to fly to Japan for the best noodles & sushi, London for Rabbit pie, Spain for an omelet (and I hate omelettes) , Montreal for Wilensky’s fried bologna sandwiches or a Fois-Gras double-down at Joe Beef , eye-gougingly spicy “Prince’s Hot fried Chicken” in Nashville and more. April Bloomfield is featured in season 2 of the series and although all the chefs on the show are great, her tastes and cooking style appealed to me the most.
If you are not used to making leafy greens like this – Swiss Chard, aka “bietola” in Italian or “bette à carde” in French, and can be found in most grocery stores. The stems can be white or red. I prefer to cook with the white ones because the red ones release their colour onto everything when cooked. Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K, and C.
Swiss Chard with Olive Oil
2 bunches of Swiss Chard (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp of grated garlic (preferably on a microplane)
1/2 lemon (optional)
Maldon or flaky sea salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil (with lid) and add a few handfuls of kosher salt. The water should taste just a little less salty than the sea.
Rinse your greens several times to remove all the sand and grit. Submerging them in water is the best way.
Slice chard leaves from the stems. Trim and discard the brownish ends and cut the stems into rustic pieces, 1 or 2 inches long Add the stems to the boiling water and stir occasionally until they’re tender , about 2 min.
Add the leaves, stirring well to ensure they’re all submerged and pop on the lid. Let the water return to a boil and remove the lid and continue to cook on medium until leaves are tender and silky (about 6 minutes from when leaves were added)
Drain the chard well in a colander but don’t squeeze it too much. Put it in a bowl and drizzle on the olive oil and add garlic.
Toss well with your hands, rubbing the leaves to make sure the oil and garlic get dispersed. You may like to squeeze on some lemon juice so that it brightens the taste. Then if needed, sprinkle on some sea salt.
Lay the chard gently on a serving plate, with some air in there – meaning not in a dense clump – and serve!