Soil to Boil: Swiss Chard

When it comes to these low-maintenance greens, we can't leaf well enough alone.
Swiss chard with smoked bacon from the 21 Club in New York City.

Swiss chard with smoked bacon from the 21 Club in New York City.

Swiss chard with bacon makes a vibrant, vitamin-packed side dish.

Photo by: Image courtesy of the 21 Club

Image courtesy of the 21 Club

Swiss chard with bacon makes a vibrant, vitamin-packed side dish.

Nicknamed "perpetual spinach" for its hardiness and long growing season, Swiss chard prefers cooler temperatures. Despite its name, this native of the Mediterranean tastes best when harvested before the leaves get too long. 

One of the healthiest greens in the garden, Swiss chard is full of vitamins A, C and E, and one cooked cup contains a whopping 300 percent of your daily value for vitamin K. 

To balance out all that healthiness, John Greeley, executive chef of the legendary 21 Club in midtown Manhattan, pairs his stems and leaves with a few slices of salty smoked bacon. 

Swiss Chard with Bacon

Serves 4

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, washed in cold water
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • ½ cup onion, diced small
  • 4 slices bacon, thick-cut and smoked
  • Chives, sliced for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Tear the chard leaves off the stem by hand. Slice the stems on a bias to ½-inch thick and cut the leaves in large pieces. Place water in pot and set to medium-high until boiling. Add salt to water. 

Blanch the chard stems in boiling water for 2 minutes and add leaves for 30 seconds. Drain chard from water and place in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain on a paper towel. 

Saute bacon in a frying pan until crispy, remove and lower heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant but not browned, then add red pepper flakes. Add the chard and warm through, add bacon and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt if necessary and finish with sliced chives. 

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