I often forget that vegetables perform just as well as proteins in a marinade, taking on new, deeper flavors as they rest with the chosen dressing. In fact, mild greens like swiss chard often taste best when paired with sharp and tangy sauces. This marinated rainbow chard recipe from the Franny's cookbook is a perfect example. Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark treat the vegetable in two stages, cooking the long stems in garlic-scented olive oil and vinegar before tossing them with the quickly wilted greens and extra oil and vinegar. After 20 minutes (or longer, if you'd like) in the marinade, the chard glitters with oil and carries the punchy sweetness of the vinegar.
Why I picked this recipe: Swiss chard is one of my favorite greens: it has more flavor than spinach, but cooks up in no time.
What worked: Another simple Franny's success, this vegetable side highlights the suppleness of the greens and tender chew of the stems.
What didn't: I thought that the whole leaves were a little annoying to eat, so I'd cut them into bite-sized pieces next time. I'd also go up on vinegar a bit when dressing the greens for more punch.
Suggested tweaks: You can substitute any tender green for the chard, but you may not want to follow the same treatment for the stems. Give the greens a squeeze to remove excess water before mixing them with the marinade and stems. If you can't find moscato vinegar, whisk together 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 1/2 teaspoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar to use as a substitute.
Reprinted with permission from Franny's: Simple seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark. Copyright 2013. Published by Artisan. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 bunches Swiss chard (1 pound), stems trimmed
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, 4 smashed and peeled, 2 chopped
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon moscato vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- Scant 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Remove the stems from the chard leaves. Cut the stems in half lengthwise, then into 3-inch lengths. Keep the leaves whole.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the 4 smashed garlic cloves and cook until the garlic is light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic.
Add the stems to the garlic oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook until the stems are browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes (if the stems begin to brown too much before they are tender, add a few tablespoons of water). When the stems are almost tender, stir in the 2 tablespoons vinegar. Cook until the stems are shiny and tender, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the 2 chopped garlic cloves, and cook for 1 minute. Add the chili flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chard leaves, season with salt, and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the greens to a plate and let cool.
Place the greens in a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and the pepper. Gently mix in the stems. Let marinate for at least 20 minutes before serving, or for up to 1 day. Store in the refrigerator if marinating for more than 2 hours.