Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garden to Table: Swiss Chard

The 100 degree days of summer are coming to an end and the start of fall is just around the corner. The heat has taken a toll on the garden, and some of our sanity, but one crop withstood the heat quite well. Swiss chard, similar to collard greens and kale, is a leafy green that is versatile in its culinary uses and an extremely healthy addition to any diet. Typically harvested in late spring, the row of Swiss chard I planted in March kept growing throughout the dog days of June and July. As the start of fall begins (I define fall as the start of the football season) my mind wanders to thoughts of brats boiling in beer, 9 AM tailgates for college football, and of course the annual kick-off to fall, Oktoberfest. A friend of mine is making the 10 hour plane trip in mid-September to Munich (Munchen if you speak German) to enjoy a weekend of German beer tents, picnic tables lined with liter stein’s, and of course all of the stick to your ribs traditional German cuisine. Every culture has their own version of the dumpling, in the south ours is served with chicken, the Italians have Gnocchi, and the German version is Spaetzle.
Homemade German Spaetzle with Sautéed Swiss Chard and Sage-Browned Butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

I bunch of Swiss Chard roughly chopped (use only the leafy parts)

2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon of ground sage

Salt and Pepper

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-milk mixture. Gradually draw in the flour from the sides and combine well; the dough should be smooth and thick. Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot, and then reduce to a simmer. To form the spaetzle, hold a large holed colander (pasta strainer) or slotted spoon over the simmering water and push the dough through the holes with a spatula or spoon. Do this in batches so you don't overcrowd the pot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the spaetzle floats to the surface, stirring gently to prevent sticking. Dump the spaetzle into a colander and give it a quick rinse with cool water.

In a large sauté pan add the butter, mustard, and sage and sauté over medium high heat until the butter starts to slightly brown. Next add the Swiss chard and toss in the butter mixture for about 4 minutes until the chard has completely wilted. Toss the chard mixture with the cooked spaetzle and serve. This can be a vegetarian meal, or as a side dish. I recommend serving with Al Fresco Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage (pictured above).

The series “Garden to Table” highlights the produce from my own backyard garden and the recipes I use to make the most out of the seasons bounty.

No comments:

Post a Comment