A friend of mine recently turned me on to a couple of swiss chard recipes that were in cookbooks I already own. One is called Chard Utopia, which I immediately snarkily renamed Chard Dystopia, because it was asking for it, and that’s basically how I feel about chard these days. The recipe is a simple spanakopita re-engineered to accommodate chard (and found in Simply in Season).
The other recipe was from The Silver Spoon, and calls for only the chard stems. I found this to be genius, but nobody else I shared it with understood why you would ever have left over stems, when it’s so easy just to throw them in with the leaves. In my cooking, I find a lot of recipes that call for only the leaves because, I believe, I am pulling a lot of vegetarian recipes where the chard appears as the main dish. If you’re just dealing with a simple chard side, sure throw in the stems, who cares. But if you are crafting a main, textures matter a lot more, and the stems don’t always match what the recipe is trying to do. My point is that I always have the stems hanging around, and frequently they get dumped in the compost for want of a better plan.
Now I no longer have to feel guilty about my compost, because the stem recipe incorporates two of my favorite things – hidden anchovies (yum!), and parmesan. The results are bizarrely wonderful – rich and deeply flavorful, and eminently repeatable.
Stems from 2 bunches Chard, sliced into 2″ lengths
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 C grated Parmesan
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and add the stems. Cook for 10 minutes or until soft. In a large saute pan, heat the evoo, and dissolve the anchovies in the oil. Add the stems and saute until nicely browned about 5 minutes more. Top with Parmesan and serve.