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Swiss Chard, Tuscookany and Franco

I don’t know about you, but when I saw leafy veggies in the market like Swiss chard, collard greens and kale I never quite knew what to do with them. But all that changed last September when I went to Tuscookany, the best cooking school in Italy, and met my chef, Franco.

Franco had us use Swiss chard in his famous minestrone soup, which with his permission, I’ll share in a future blog, but in the meantime I have to tell you about a really tasty recipe that I just made up.

I planted Swiss chard last October after I got home from Italy thinking I would need it for Franco’s soup, but today I had a wild notion to try something else. The sun actually came out this afternoon so it no longer seemed like a good day to cook soup.

I harvested the some of the leaves and washed them really well. Since it’s an organic garden I’m forever sharing with “nature.” We’ll just leave it at that.

I read through a lot of Swiss chard recipes but none really hit me, so this is what I came up with. I wasn’t sure if it was “blog-worthy” but to my big surprise it is. It’s really good with a hot kick to it. But if you don’t like spicy, lay low on the red pepper flakes.
Nancy’s Sunny Day Spicy Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Parmesan
Chop all ingredients so they’re ready when you are.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add green onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Don’t let the pan get too hot or the garlic will burn.
Add the red stems and cook until they begin to soften. About 5 minutes.
Add the chopped leaves and stir. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until almost soft,  5-7 minutes. Pour in a splash of vermouth and continue to cook until vermouth is absorbed.
Add garbanzo beans and cook until they’re heated through, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Grate fresh Parmesan over the top and squeeze a half of lemon for an extra kick.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
* Did you know that during World War II when wine was scarce chefs in France used Vermouth instead of wine for cooking?

 

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