Sunday, October 02, 2005

Letting Down My Chard

I've never been a big fan of chard, probably because I never really knew how best to prepare it. One person suggested eating it raw, as a salad, and I was none too impressed. Someone else suggested cooking it, which left the greens rather limp and unappetizing.

But as I read Local Flavors earlier this year, I found a recipe for a chard gratin that sounded appealing. Using Bright Lights chard, with stems varying from beet red to bright yellow to pale green, it calls for a light saute of the chard with onions, a bechamel sauce, and a dill bread crumb topping.

Easy enough, I thought, so I bought a bag of chard at the farmers' market yesterday with the intent of trying it today.

This time, though the chard wilted in the saute, it didn't get overcooked, and it retained much of its rich color. (Maybe I never had the right variety of chard before?) And though the sauce was a bit thin, the bread crumb topping made it all look elegant and tasty.

You know what? It was tasty. And the slow-baked beets, topped with butter and salt and pepper, that joined the chard gratin on the plate also tasted good. Two vegetables I've never particularly liked both ended up as satisfying dishes for my Sunday lunch.

How's that for trying something new?


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