My sister Truffle attracted you with beautiful chocolate decadence crowned with Inca gold (see Truffle's post). I show you sinister dark green foliage with veins of blood red - the realities of swiss chard. Truffle, you will be proud and happy to know that I have gone back to the organic vegetable delivery service.
Last week's delivery consisted of small red potatoes, dark plums, grapefruit and swiss chard. The plums disappeared within two days and my colleagues were met with the citrusy wafts of grapefruit at 3:00 PM two days in a row. Sunday came and I was still left with the potatoes and swiss chard. I ruffled through my favorite cookbook by Jamie Oliver, a wedding gift from a dear school friend, and came across a fish pie recipe that I had made once before. I had found the perfect solution to consuming both vegetables. The potatoes were the perfect sweet topping for the pie and the swiss chard its ideal bitter companion.
I par boiled thin slices of the potato in salt and layered it on top of the fish that had been doused with sour cream and grated left-over hard cheese, which in turn were seated on sauteed onions, celery, green peppers, chili flakes and capers (not Oliver's original recipe). The whole dish went into the oven at 400*F. The leftover potato slices were fried in olive oil.
The swiss chard was more of a challenge. Never having made it before, a little internet research led me to believe that sauteing them with garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar would do the trick. I faced my challenge of chopping up what seemed to be an entire bush of the plant on a small chopping board and looked for a pot big enough to accommodate the mass. I watched with disbelief as the entire thing reduced to a fifth of its original volume and fussed over it with self-doubt as the vinegar went in and its fumes shot out. I added sugar to retain its color and breathed deeply for courage before serving it to my two children. The verdict? I loved it, my children put up with it, but unfortunately, my husband, born to vegetarian brahmins, did not care for it. Ah well, I can't win 'em all!
Truffle, I commend you. You dare do these things that I would not dream of - ordering vegetable sides in Spain and fresh cut vegetables in trendy London restaurants! I thought I was brave ordering organic food, battling with unknown chards and then serving them to my family in my small town of Davidson in rural North Carolina. You, my dear, are definitely far braver.