Looking at the Swiss chard that I was about to prepare for lunch reminded me of Kew Gardens, where we spent much of our lockdown weekends. That was before it got so cold that the pleasure of a long walk outweighed the pain of suffering bitter winds and damp weather.
What was truly amazing about Kew was that we always found new areas to explore and admire. We discovered the Kitchen Garden, and spent much of Autumn looking at the ever swelling pumpkins.
When the pumpkins were dug up we noticed the bright colourful stems of the rainbow chard growing. Below are some of the photos taken on one of our many visits.
My supermarket batch of chard did not contain many coloured stalks, nonetheless the few that were included were very welcome
To ensure even cooking, remove any thick stems and slice thinly before cooking together with the leafy part
For the Chard:
400 g Swiss chard
5 cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthways
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon chilli flakes (I used Chipotle Chilli)
2 tablespoons flaked almonds
How to Make:
Prepare the chard by trimming off the dry ends of the stems. Separate the leafy parts from the stems.
Lay a few of the leaves one on top of another, and slice into thick strips.
If the stems are thin, they can be left alone. If they are thick, slice them lengthways into thinner pieces.
Place the oil in a small pan and fry the garlic over a very low heat for around 10 minutes until they have softened and coloured slightly. Remove the garlic and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil in a large pan and throw in the crushed chilli. Immediately put in the sliced chard and sauté until chard has softened, around 8 – 10 minutes. It is a strange characteristic of chard that it is naturally salty so there is no need to add salt.
When the chard is ready, add the garlic and give everything a good stir. Grate over some lemon zest and add the toasted almonds before serving.
Garlic, chilli and lemon bring out the mineral taste of the chard, with flaked almonds adding some crunch
This dish is fuss-free and makes a good accompaniment. We ate it for lunch with some Roasted Squash and Ricotta Pithiviers, which came from the lovely people behind one of my favourite London restaurants, Brasserie Zedel
I can’t wait for the weather to improve and return to our Kew walks. For the moment, walking up and down three flights of stairs daily in our town house will have to suffice.