Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris) is as quotidian a vegetable as there is. We got the sense that our CSA members weren’t too into beets, so we elected to focus on the more practical and versatile chard for our winter and spring seasons – although we planted some sugar beets a few weeks ago, so beet lovers will enjoy a taste of what we’ve discovered to be the premiere summer beet. Yet as our crop of chard wanes – this possibly being the last week of chards for a few months – I thought I’d take a moment of pause to celebrate a green that has been a staple of all our lives for the past months.
I’ve been eating Swiss card nearly every day since the early winter. I find that no matter what happens in my life – from the daily minor stresses to the significant mood-altering events – a daily dose of leafy greens regulates my digestion and leaves me feeling vibrant and ready for the next day. A stir-fry is simple, but lately I’ve enjoyed the flavor of a well-steamed Swiss chard. Either steam it until it is slightly brightened (this is usually how I eat nearly all my leafy greens, especially chard, as it doesn’t work too well for me raw) or keep cooking it until it reaches a tender succulence. Kill the heat, and drizzle with olive oil, a slight dab of lemon, and some salt. My mom has been raving about red wine vinegar, so sometimes I add a few drops of that to accentuate the complex flavor of the card.
In perhaps more sensational vegetable news, our first crop of tomatoes has arrived – an Italian heirloom called Cosotoluto Genovese. Coming right up are the Thessaloniki and Black Prince varieties (which I’ve sampled and found to have a flavor that has an altogether different essence from most tomatoes).
Hope you are all enjoying the evolving flavors of summer!