If you’re like me, you get really excited when you first see it.
You walk out to the garden, hold your breath and – yes! Today is the day. The chard is ready for its first cutting!
You marvel at its colored stems. You love how simply it sautes up and pairs with your scrambled eggs. You love how within a few days its cut-and-come-again leaves are upturned toward your smiling face.
It goes on like this, for weeks, it seems.
And then, at some point…the romance starts to fade. You remind yourself that you’ve committed to four, five, maybe six chard plants, and it’s only June. You’ve got to stick it out and find some way to love it again.
Can I get an amen? I mean, chard is one of the loveliest of edible plants, if I had to choose one. And one of the most generous, as it gives and gives and gives of itself for a long season. But after awhile, I just don’t know what to do with it anymore.
My friend and kitchen mentor Dan showed me how to make these pickles a few years ago, when I had once again grown tired of sauteing it and using it in salads. It’s a great way to put those flashy stems on display and provide some variety when it comes to eating chard.
Basic Pickling Liquid, taken from the Ad Hoc At Home cookbook by Thomas Keller:
1 cup champagne vinegar (we use white wine vinegar here, too)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Group chard stalks into similar sizes, and pack them into a clean jar. Heat vinegar, sugar and water in a saucepan until dissolved, then pour over the chard stalks. At this point, we add hot sauce, maybe some celery seed too. It’s really fun to be creative and throw in whatever spices suit your fancy. Once the liquid has reached room temperature, put on a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating. Can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
Do you have any creative uses for chard! I’d love to hear them in the comments. Help me bring the romance back!
From my chard-lovin’, chard-hatin’ heart,