Thursday, July 30, 2009

Currently eating and cooking: lots and lots of silverbeet

I am having a mad silverbeet (Swiss chard) obsession. Before a month ago I don't think I had ever even eaten it, being more a spinach kind of person. But my local fruit and vegetable people have been stocking baby silverbeet and I have discovered that I rather like it. I love the smooth - lumpy texture of those deep green shiny leaves. I love the fact it actually has a taste.

There must be a reason I crave it. Perhaps all that iron is doing me some good.

Here are the two ways I have been cooking it. You could also use these for rainbow chard (pictured below) or English spinach:

Creamed silverbeet (after a Neil Perry recipe from 'The Food I Love')

Small bunch of silverbeet (this will be about 6 or 7 stems)
Sea salt
25 g of butter
2 tbs of finely chopped brown onion
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
About 100 ml of thickened cream (but see below)

Remove the leaves and wash. Discard stems (or put in your compost). Roll up leaves and slice roughly. Put the leaves and a couple of tablespoons of water and the salt into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the leaves wilt and shrink (about 4 to 5 minutes).

In a frying pan melt the butter and cook the onion and garlic over gentle heat until lightly browned. Add the silverbeet leaves and cook until tender. This may be up to 10 minutes depending on age of silverbeet. Note that silverbeet does take longer to cook than spinach. Once cooked, add the cream and let warm through. The cream should not drown the silverbeet, but make it pale and creamy. If you add too much it will run out of the silverbeet in the next step. Once the cream is warmed through, blend the contents of the pan - I do this with a stick blender (ie a vitimiser) rather than a food processor.

Check seasoning, it may need freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

Sauteed silverbeet (from Stephanie Alexander's 'Cooks Companion')

The best part of this recipe is that the stalks are all used up, which makes me feel like an efficient 1940s housewife operating on war time rations.

12 stems of sliver beet
3 tbs olive oil (actually I usually use more)
1 small brown onion or red shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup currants (or not too shrivelled raisins)
1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

Separate silverbeet stems from the leaves, trim stems and cut into 1 cm square pieces. Wash the leaves and roll up and slice. Heat half the oil in a heavy based frying pan and saute onion until pale gold. Add the stems and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add sliced leaves to the pan and trickle over remaining olil. Cover pan until leaves are softened, then remove lid and stir. Add currants and pine nuts and cook, stirring reasonably regularly until the stems are tender but the leaves are still glossy and green.

Images: Martha Stewart

Yum. Last night I found a silverbeet gratin recipe. I will try that tonight. I hope it's not possible to overdose on silverbeet!


Cathy~Mille Fleur said...

This is my first visit to your blog!!! It is wonderful!!! I look forward to returning again and again!!!


Anonymous said...

Mmm one of my favorite vegetables. I usually just sautee in garlic and olive oil but will have to try the currants and pine nuts next time. It sounds delish.

Laura said...

Oh bless you. I have been completely inundated with swiss chard through my weekly vegetable box and cannot think of one more thing to do with it. I will certainly give creaming it a try!

Jane said...

Cathy - Thank you what a lovely comment to leave :) Jane

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