Overheard at the farmer’s market the other day: “If I have to eat one more kale leaf I think I’ll turn green, curl up and die.”
It’s a sentiment I’ve heard a lot these days. Whether massaged and tossed with a tart Caesar dressing, or morphed it into child-friendly “chips” kale’s popularity seems to be on the wane. To which I say: Swiss Chard. The other leafy green. It offers all the same nutrients as kale, without any of the righteousness.
Chard is, in fact, a member of the beet family and is known under other names such as silver beet, perpetual spinach, beet spinach, seakale beet, or leaf beet. It originated in the Mediterranean region and not in Switzerland — no matter what its name might imply.
The French call chard “blettes” and they love to tuck it into a “tourte” – sometimes savory and sometimes sweet (chard and apple tourte is dish that goes back several centuries). Here’s one recipe from the Chicago Tribune and another from David Leibovitz.
FYI – Rainbow chard is not a variety of chard. It is simply different colored chard bunched together. And these stems aren’t just pretty faces. Any cook worth her salt knows better than to toss them out. Pickling them is a must. If you think they look pretty at the market, just imagine how they will look pickled, as in this recipe from thekitchn.com alongside their (wilted) leaves on a plate.
Chard is a beautiful addition to any soup or pasta dish but also stands alone as in this Melissa Clark garlicky standby. In addition to painterly mushrooms, Township Valley (back this week!) sells some stellar garlic.
We are so happy to welcome back Bohemian Baked – the popular gluten-free/vegan baker who was here a couple of years ago and had to take some time off from markets. Nancy Haggerty will be back with bagels, soft pretzels, scones, Halloween cookies (ghosts and pumpkins), chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies & brownies, too.
See you at the market!
Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ farmer’s market director
author: “American Pie:Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads” (HarperCollins)