My gracious and generous neighbor, Redneck Mother, dropped off a mess of Swiss Chard from her garden the other day and I wasted no time in cooking it up. A few years spent in Mississippi taught me to truly appreciate plants with huge dark green leaves. Although they may look a little daunting (I have seen my MIL refuse to cook them up because they are 'too much trouble to wash') , they don't have to be labor intensive. Here's my shortcut, good for greens of all persuasion:
- Put the greens in your kitchen sink and fill it up with cold water from the tap. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Any grit left on the leaves will have sunk to the bottom of the sink.
- Take the greens from the sink and set them aside. Don't worry about drying them off - a good shake to get most of the water off is sufficient. The water that still clings to them will be used to cook them in a minute. Chop them roughly. (I like to include the big stems but some people prefer to cut them out.)
- Heat a big skillet. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a minced clove or two of garlic. Saute the garlic for a minute.
- Add the chopped greens. Cook, tossing occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes. You want them wilted but not mushy. (See? The water still clinging to the greens steams and cooks them!) And don't worry about an overly full skillet - these babies shrink up a lot.
- Put them on a plate and add a little salt and pepper. If you're from Mississippi, you'll have a bottle of pepper sauce handy. If not, a splash of balsamic vinegar is nice, too.