Dinner Tonight: Squid with Swiss Chard

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Dinner Tonight: Squid with Swiss Chard
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[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Fall is the one time of year I really look forward to getting my vitamins. When the season is in full swing, I cook up a batch of simple sautéed greens almost every night. Kale, collards, chard—doesn't matter, as long as it's full of sliced garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, and finished with a hint of lemon juice. They're completely addictive, especially when fresh from the farmers' market, when they're still tender and sweet. They're also affordable and healthful. Hardly a meal goes by without them.

However, sautéed greens do not a full meal make. Enter this recipe, which I found torn out of a copy of Bon Appétit in a bulging recipe file, from the May 2008 issue. Described as "a spicy main course that's popular in Tuscany," it's basically the typical greens recipe with the addition of squid, which is braised first in red wine. It gives the dish a rich, inky color and a complex flavor. If you don't like squid or if the squid isn't fresh, it's just going to taste fishy. But I loved it.

Squid with Swiss Chard

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After spending a year in Estonia, he now lives in Chicago.


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid, bodies cut into rings, tentacles left whole
  • 2 1/4 cups dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1.

    In a large heavy skillet large enough to hold all the chard, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the squid and wine and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer until squid is tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Uncover and add the chard. Cook, uncovered, until the chard is completely wilted, turning the uncooked leaves into the dish as needed. When almost all the liquid has evaporated, 10 minutes or so, season to taste with salt and black pepper.

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