Friday, October 16, 2009

What works and what doesn't: Chard with Mint and Pistachios

I know that dark, leafy greens are among the best, healthiest things you can eat. But there is often a disparity between what we know and what we eat. My family is a prime example. I have been telling them all about wonderful leafy greens and bringing them home from the farmers' market for some time now. I have tried cooking them in a multiplicity of ways but still have yet to win everybody over.
I've sautéed, boiled, and baked but really made little progress. I really don't think that many people have a natural affection for those dark leafy greens. It must be an acquired taste, but once you get there, a pretty good one. Like this morning. My cookbook said that breakfast guests would "ooh and swoon at the sight" of the beautiful chard and onion frittata I made. Well here is what the breakfast guests had to say.

5 year old: I don't want this for breakfast. I don't want this ever, ever never.
29 year old: It is like there is salad in my eggs.
1 year old: (only ate half of hers)

Well. I got over it and enjoyed it myself, because it was delicious. And now that I have been eating greens for some time now I am acquiring the taste. But I have a faint suspicion that my husband is getting closer too.

Him: You should be so proud of me. There were those little debbie like cellophane wrapped danishes in the residency room this morning and I didn't eat any of them.
Me: Oh, gross those are not even food.
Him: And I didn't eat them. Look at how good I am now. Never mind the two pieces of birthday cake I had yesterday. (All while eating the leftovers from this morning's chard and onion frittata that he had previously mocked.)

Can we say progress?

Anyway. Sometimes it just takes time. But here is a recipe that uses those greens and is still so good I can eat the entire recipe myself.

Chard with Mint and Pistachios
Adapted from Darya Pino

One bunch Swiss chard, any color
One large shallot, leek (white part only)
1/4 cup Pistachio nut meats
12-24 Fresh mint leaves
Sea Salt to taste

To start, dice a mild onion such as a shallot, leek or ciopollini and slice a large handful of mint leaves. Leaves such as mint and basil are easiest to cut if you chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other and rolling them lengthwise like a cigarette. From there they are easy to cut into thin strips.

Next chop the chard into 2×2 squares. Use some of the stems, but discard the really wide woody parts or save for your next stock. Stop cutting when there is no longer any green attached. When the stem gets thicker toward the bottom of the leaf, I recommend cutting them in half to ease cooking and eating.

Heat olive oil in a pan until it swirls easily. Add onion and some pistachio nuts and saute until the onion is soft and translucent (it’s okay if it starts to brown). Add chard and stir to cover in oil. Add salt, but not too much. Cover for 1-2 minutes and allow the chard to wilt. Uncover, stir and continue to cook. Sprinkle mint over the chard and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Chard is finished cooking when it is dark green and the stems are tender, about 8 minutes.


  1. That is a post I can totally relate to. It is hard bringing the fam around. I love chard. Try it with feta and pine good.

  2. thanks. I will. I find I am much more successful (generally, not always) when I treat it like spinach and use it interchangeably.

    But dandelion greens are difficult... When I got those from my CSA that was a challenge. They were so bitter.


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