By Freya Bellin
All too often I come home with a giant bunch of beautiful leafy greens and then wonder what exactly to do with them. This recipe is a simple, flavorful answer to that question. All of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand, and it’s also the type of recipe that can be altered to taste or whatever you happen to have in stock, although olives are a great choice. I used Moroccan oil-cured olives: shriveled, bitter, and very salty. They’re delicious, but make sure to go very light on any additional salt, if you use any at all. Particularly useful is learning the braising method used in this recipe. Leafy greens can fill up a pot or pan really quickly, but when you add liquid, like the red wine here, the leaves wilt much more quickly and are less likely to burn than if simply sautéed. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Garlicky Chard with Olives and Pine Nuts
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 40 minutes
Olives play a starring role in this dish, so quality really matters. Buy bulk olives if at all possible and see if you can find the glossy, deep black, shriveled oil-cured ones (taste one to make sure they’re good). You can use spinach, kale, cabbage, or even bok choy instead of the chard and, for extra richness, crumble a little feta cheese on top right before serving.
11⁄2 pounds chard
1⁄4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced, or to taste
1⁄3 cup good-quality black or green olives, pitted and chopped
1⁄2 cup red wine or water
Salt and black pepper
1. Cut the leaves from the stems of the chard. Cut the leaves into wide ribbons and slice the stems (on the diagonal if you like); keep the leaves and stems separate.
2. Put the pine nuts in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts, shaking the pan and stirring often, until just starting to turn golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the nuts from the pan. Put the oil in the skillet and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, golden, and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
3. Turn the heat to medium and stir in the chard stems and olives. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems soften a bit, just a minute or 2. Add the chard leaves, wine, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until the chard leaves are wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.