For those of not lucky enough to live in climates blessed with bountiful year-round farmers markets—currently filled with the gorgeous colors of plump persimmons and massive dates—we've got to get creative.
We're not quite deep into root vegetable season yet, but we do have plenty of chard to work with. And with citrus just beginning to hit its stride, I decided to look for an addition that would deliver brightness and textural contrast to the dish. Enter sumac.
Sumac, made from deep purple berries, has a slight citrusy flavor and is delicious on grilled meats and fish,—I even love it on grilled tomatoes during the summer. Despite being a great flavor enhancer, it's not a very commonly used spice, which is one reason why you'll most likely find the ground form in the international section of your supermarket, instead of alongside other spices. It's more of a finishing touch than something you cook with, which is why I sprinkle it on at the end and mix in fresh lemon juice and zest with the pasta in the pan.
Overall, the recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes, with minimal prep work—you're only working with the shallots, garlic, and chard. They all cook together in one pot and will cost you less than 20 dollars; not bad for a quick, weeknight dinner that's packed with greens.