Known for being one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world, Swiss Chard has numerous health benefits, positively impacting blood sugar, working as an antioxidant, and supporting bone health. Swiss chard isn't native to Switzerland at all — its actual homeland lies further south in the Mediterranean. Chard got its name from another Mediterranean vegetable, the cardoon, a celery-like plant with thick stalks that resemble swiss chard. Aristotle even wrote about chard in the 4th-century B.C. so it's not surprising that the ancient Greeks, and later the Romans, honoured chard for its medicinal properties. Along with kale, mustard greens and collard greens, swiss chard is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet. Fresh young swiss chard can be used raw in salads, whereas mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed, their bitterness fading with cooking, leaving a refined flavour which is more delicate than cooked spinach.
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Garlic & Fennel
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/4 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
Dash of crushed chili flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp paprika or sumac, for garnish
Chop off the root end and centre stalk of the swiss chard and discard, then wash and rinse the leaves in cold water. Using a sharp knife, finely chop into 1/2-inch strips and set aside in a large bowl, with the water still clinging to the leaves. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high and quickly sauté the garlic for 10 seconds, then add the swiss chard and sliced fennel — it will hiss as it hits the oil. Using kitchen tongs, toss the mixture well with the oil, then add the lemon juice, crushed chili flakes, tomato and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium, cover and cook until the swiss chard and fennel are soft and tender, about 6-8 minutes. Serve the Sautéed Swiss Chard and Fennel in a decorative bowl and garnish with pine nuts. Place a dollop of Greek yogurt in the middle of the dish with a sprinkle of paprika or sumac on top for colour. Serve immediately while still warm.