Whenever I sauté chard greens as a side dish, it breaks off a little piece of my heart every time I throw away the stem to speed up cooking time. I feel my depression-era grandmother shaking her head at my blatantly wasteful ways. There’s nothing wrong with the stem, she’d say – make a soup out of it, put it in your creamed spinach.
To appease my frugal nature and make my grandmother smile wherever she is, I created this recipe to make use of the stem. Using the stem isn’t unusual – I’ve had some great grilled versions at Italian restaurants that I’ve replicated at home. When I don’t want to heat up the grill however, I turn up the broiler. Then I toss in some carrots for color, and, anchovies and garlic to honor this dish’s Italian roots.
The anchovies and butter morph the dish into a sort of deconstructed bagna cauda. Serve with crusty bread – you’ll want every last bit of this sauce.
Chard Stems with Anchovy Butter
2 bunches worth of thick chard stems, leaves discarded
3 small carrots, diced small
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 salt packed anchovies, rinsed and minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the broiler.
Put the chard stems on a sheet pan covered with foil and sprinkle the carrots over the stems. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for five to ten minutes, or until the stems brown slightly and can be easily pierced with a fork.
While browning the stems, heat the butter in a small saucepan over very low heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and swirl in the pan. Add the lemon juice and swirl in the pan again. Pour over the broiled stems and serve.
anchovy, side dish, swiss chard, vegetables
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