Friday, June 22, 2012

La Bietola

Fresh swiss chard, bietola fresca. Can't you just see the vitamins! (I've included my hand as a reference to show you the size of the leaf.) Now, I was never a fan of this vegetable until I discovered it could be cooked in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. Actually, everything tastes good cooked that way.  Here's how: Cut a few of the largest, most mature leaves from each plant, or alternatively you can find swiss chard in the veggie section everywhere this time of year.  Clean them well but don't dry them!  Cut them into one inch slices including the white stalk. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil into a pan, along with some sliced fresh garlic and red pepper flakes. Place the cleaned chard on top, cover and simmer on low heat until the water evaporates, usually 15-20 minutes.  Remove the lid, add a little salt and pepper and it's ready to eat.  Or, do what I do and continue cooking the chard until it browns and crisps just a little. It's like eating candy, not your vegetables!

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