I think of bruschetta as a summer dish, but it is also perfect for other time of the year if you vary the toppings. We’ve had some very warm weather and my chard is bolting. I’m trying to harvest as much as possible before all is lost, but I think it is almost over for this batch that was planted last fall. As with last year, we’ve had an unseasonably warm spring. I need the garden space for tomatoes, always an iffy crop here in Northern California. The last two summers have been warm and I’ve been successful with the smaller varieties, cherry tomatoes also do very well. If it’s a foggy summer I make green tomato chutney in the late fall, some years they don’t ripen at all.
Chard and Roast Garlic Bruschetta
Back to the chard, this bruschetta is a delicious way to highlight the vegetable. Kale or even spinach would also be good prepared this way. Lightly cook the greens to ensure they are still vibrant.
Bruschetta with Roast Garlic and Swiss Chard
- 1 head of garlic, top 1/4 inch cut off to expose the individual cloves
- Olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon (non-waxed organic)
- 1/4 cup of softened butter
- Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
- 1 bunch of Swiss chard, washed, dried, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 country loaf, sourdough preferred, thickly sliced and toasted
- Red pepper flakes
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut a piece of foil large enough to enclose the head of garlic, drizzle the garlic with olive oil, close the foil tightly, and bake for about 40 minutes until the cloves are soft.
- Cool the garlic to room temperature, then mix with the softened butter, zest and juice of the lemon, salt and pepper. Use a fork to mash it together.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat.
- Add the chard to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- When ready to serve, spread the toast with the garlic butter and top each with some chard, sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Roast Garlic and Chard Bruschetta
This recipe is adapted from “The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries“.
I’m taking this bruschetta to Fiesta Friday #64 to share with Angie and the gang.
Not wasting any part of a vegetable would not have been a new idea for many of our parents or grandparents. It was simply considered good household management. My mother kept an empty milk carton in the freezer, in would go all the vegetable trimmings and any leftover bones. When it was full, she made stock or soup. She even used leftover salad, the next day it was popped into the blender with a can of cream-of-something soup, pureed, heated with a can of milk, and served to my dad for lunch. He thought it was delicious.
Today the hottest current trend in restaurant circles is using all parts of a vegetable (or animal). Sound familiar? Everything comes around again if you wait long enough. I am in full agreement with this new idea. Especially when it’s been grown in my garden from a seed. I’ve nurtured it from babyhood and I want to savor every part.
At the moment my garden is gifting me with armfulls of chard in many colors.
Can’t you just see the vitamins?
One of the most creative books on preserving in my cookbook library is “THE PRESERVATION KITCHEN The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux” by Paul Virant. On the fly-leaf of the book Alice Waters writes “In order to cook economically and deliciously all year round, it is essential to learn the art of preservation. This beautiful book inspires us to take the time to capture the flavors and textures of each harvest.” Amen.
Chard stems are rather forgettable when raw but are dynamic when pickled. They provide a sharp contrast to the chard leaves. This is a quick pickle, you can use it almost immediately after it is made although I find it lasts for at least a week in the fridge and you can certainly make it ahead.
Swiss Chard with Pickled Stems
- 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 pounds of Swiss chard
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- In a saucepan large enough to hold the stems and pickling liquid, bring the vinegar, water, shallot, honey and salt to a simmer until the honey and salt have dissolved.
- Strip the leaves from the chard stems and cut off any tough ends. Dice the stems into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Add the stems to the pot. (If the brine doesn’t cover the stems it’s ok, they will soften in the brine.)
- Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the stems cool in the liquid. If not using immediately, transfer to a bowl or jar and chill.
Chard Stems in Pickling Liquid
When you are ready to cook the chard
- Roughly chop the chard leaves
- In a large pot over high heat, warm the olive oil. Stir in the leaves and a pinch of salt and saute until they begin to wilt.
- Using a slotted spoon, add the pickled stems to the pot, then spoon in half the pickling liquid. Cook until the chard leaves are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Taste, add more pickling liquid if you like a sharper taste. Salt if needed.
Chopped chard leaves
Pickled chard stems
I don’t have a picture of the finished dish because it was eaten too quickly. Gone, inhaled. Try this one, I think you will like it. Any leftover pickled stems can be used as a garnish for scrambled eggs or added to a salad.