September 10, 2014 § 2 Comments
This dish is so lovely that I am storing it in my mental recipe archives until I have the most perfect moment to unveil it. Maybe I’m saving it to debut at my dream dinner party, served elegantly alongside the perfectly-cooked steak I haven’t yet mastered. Or: I’m keeping it safe until I fill out the rest of the pages in my someday cookbook. Or maybe I’ve just been waiting, without really knowing it, for this particularly right day in early fall on which to sit down, sketch a recipe, and leave it here, to share with you.
Today feels right. After all, waiting indefinitely for that pinnacle of a moment could be the culinary equivalent to the scene from Room with a View in which Cecil decides the time has come to kiss Lucy and that he’s really taken altogether too long to do so, but now that kiss must be utterly sublime and perfect in every way, and so he more or less dooms the moment to disappointment.
Luckily, this dish is incapable of disappointing. So please meet a recipe I’ve kept close to my heart for a year now, Rainbow Chard with a Maple-Vinegar Drizzle. It came to my attention via that mecca of internet cooking wisdom, Food52, where Elizabeth Schmidt published her recipe nearly two years ago now. I knew right away that it was meant for me.
That simple title hardly does justice to a recipe which elevates a green already friendly even to the vegetable averse, and leaves the eater with a full-fledged chard crush. Ribs and greens are united with raisins, smoked paprika and cashews, and finished with a drizzle of vinegar and maple syrup. The contrast of sweet and sour engage the palate while the smoked paprika and vegetable stock add umami and body. Sautéed onions, raisins and cashews keep you interested throughout the meal, and the dish as a whole is so delicious you’ll probably end up sneaking back to the kitchen to scrape up those caramelized bits always sticking to the pan-sides.
So here’s to the magic that is rainbow chard – and to showing recipes and their authors how much we love them by sharing them and returning to them, again and again.
Elizabeth Schmidt’s Rainbow Chard with a Maple-Vinegar Drizzle
- 1/3 cup raw cashews (I often substitute with success: almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)
- 2 lbs rainbow chard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped (or just a small onion!)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (regular raisins work just fine as well)
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- Salt and/or ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (grade B if you have it)
- 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar
- Using a small dry skillet, toast the cashews over medium heat, stirring until toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. When cooled, roughly chop and set aside.
- Remove center chard ribs with a sharp knife. Cut the ribs into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Coarsely chop the chard leaves and set aside.
- Using a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, paprika, and chard rib pieces. Cook over medium heat for at least 5 minutes (I like to cook them ~10 min at a slightly lower heat).
- Add the chard leaves and cook, stirring, until leaves wilt, about 3 minutes.
- Add the raisins and stock, cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Transfer the chard to a serving dish. Add the maple syrup and vinegar. Toss. Top with toasted cashews and serve.