Serving
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Chard with White Onions
France   -   Fricassée de Blettes et d'Oignons /Bancs

Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
6 side  
***
1-3/4 hr  
Prep
An excellent recipe for when you need a side dish that's more of a feature than plate filler. It would also make an excellent vegetarian main dish served with rice or pasta.





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Swiss Chard (1)  
Tomatoes
Onions, white
Garlic
Caraway seeds
-- Onion mix
Olive Oil ExtV
Salt
Water
-- Finish
Olive Oil ExtV
Salt
Pepper
-- Garnish
Cilantro (2)  
Prep   -   (45 min)
  1. Run a knife along the stems of the CHARD to remove the green leaves. Run a vegetable peeler down the back side of each stem to remove the threads, then cut into 2 inch lengths and those lengthwise about 1/4 inch wide. Put immediately into cool water acidulated with Citric Acid or Lemon Juice. Cut Chard Greens into strips about 1/4 inch wide and 2 or 3 inches long.
  2. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water, peel and dice about 3/8 inch. Set in a non-reactive strainer to drain.
  3. Cut ONIONS lengthwise into quarters and slice thin crosswise.
  4. Crush GARLIC and chop fine.
  5. Dry roast CARAWAY SEEDS until very fragrant. Cool well and grind fine.
  6. Chop CILANTRO coarse for garnish.
Run   -   (1 hr)
  1. In a tightly coverable pan (see Note-3), heat Oil and stir in Onions, 1/3 t Salt and 3 T Water. Bring to a simmer, and simmer slowly over very low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring now and then. The onions must not dry out or brown at all.
  2. Meanwhile:   In a sauce pan, bring 8 cups of Water to a boil. Drain the Chard Stems and stir into the water. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes - the chard should still have some crunch. Take it off the heat and let cool in it's water.
  3. When the Onions are done, stir in the Chard Leaves and fry stirring until the water the Chard exudes has almost all evaporated, but it is not actually frying.
  4. Drain the Chard Stems.
  5. In a spacious sauté pan (3-1/2 qt) heat 4 T Olive Oil. Stir in the Chard Stems and fry stirring over moderately high heat until they are very lightly colored.
  6. Stir in Onion Mix, Tomatoes, Garlic, Caraway, Salt and Pepper. Bring to a simmer and simmer covered for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with Cilantro Leaves.
NOTES:
  1. Chard   (the "Swiss" part is now redundant, Cardoons are no longer called "Chard"). Choose the white stemmed kind, nice large crisp leaves.
  2. Cilantro:   Apparently Cilantro (Coriander Leaves) has returned to France. This recipe comes from a book written by a French restaurateur, in France and originally in French. Through the Renaissance Cilantro was used everywhere in Europe, then was completely supplanted by Parsley, everywhere but parts of Portugal and Italy. By this time, the Spanish and Portuguese had already taken Cilantro to the New World, where it is very popular to this day.
  3. Pan:   I highly recommend a coverable wok for this, as it's by far the best pan for sweating down piles of greens. If your's isn't coverable, you can transfer the onions to a wok just before adding the chard leaves. The wok I use is the excellent Calphalon 13 inch multi-ply, with a 12-1/2 inch (32 cm) stainless lid purchased from an Asian market.
  4. Recipe Notes:   The photo with the pattern recipe did not reflect the actual recipe. The chard stems were diced, not sliced, there was no evidence of tomato, and the neat tiny white onion rings, all about the same size, obviously hadn't been cooked with the chard. Clearly, you have some latitude here.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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