Monday mornings are exciting for me. I get tell others about my weekend culinary creations. This weekend , as you know, was very productive. Trips to the market, and rainy , misty Sunday that just called invited me to fire up my burners. The end result, a few good dishes.
Monday mornings are more much that just time to show off my talent. Indeed I have no talent. I just put ingredients together, and out come , most of the time, expressions of love. Seriously, though , Mondays are about sharing, they are about reflecting. I get to share my successes, and failures so that hopefully others will find inspiration to venture into their own kitchens, and start their own love story.
Mondays are also about reflection. For every dish, and every ingredient has a inner story. Most Mondays I get to bring out my point. This morning, however, activities of work overruled and I had to limit the show to just presenting my newly created blog. Both a reflection was there .
Yesterday, I wrote about a handsome octopus. Well, he got to me yesterday and this morning, I just could not get him out of mind. I vividly recalled how, as in effect I dismembered his body, (maybe I should move away from my PG rating here), I could not help but think of the diversity of life that surrounds us. The octopus, probably the most intelligent of invertebrates, is a example of biological perfection. Symmetry, muscular coordination unlike any other creature, keen senses - you might think that a one eyed monster might be disadvantaged - and of course, great tasting flesh . I think the Mr. Octopus can teach us something. While our species often, observes the world from a high pedestal, the reality is that , we are probably just a few steps above, and not as lofty as we would like to think. One day, as our scientific knowledge expands, we will come to recognize this , and maybe even change our diets.
Now back to cooking. What do safety deposit boxes, edelweiss and chard in common? Yes, that little adjective , Swiss , as in Switzerland. So have you tried Swiss chard recently? It is a healthy vegetable, just like spinach - and as versatile as a greens can get. It holds up in soups, it can made into spicy summer salsa, or stir fried with a little meat or chunks of grilled tuna.
Pan fried Swiss Chard with Yellow Peppers.
This recipe was a summer favorite. Growing up in Italy, chard was abundant. It grows well, regenerates as if it had nine lives.
Ingredients: A large bunch of fresh Swiss chard (green , red or yellow ) . 1 large yellow bell pepper 1/2 cup of coarsely grated , unseasoned Italian bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano (Locatelli brand will do) , insane amount of black pepper (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons), 5-6 garlic cloves barely crushed so that they remain intact, S/P, EVOO. Marcona almonds from Spain.
Rating: This is one of my fan club's favorite. It never misses a beat.
Recipe: Cut the chard into 2 1/2 inch pieces. wash and rinse very thoroughly as it tends to be very gritty . Blanche it for 15 minute until tender. drain . set as side.
Sautee the yellow peppers cut into large longitudinal strips in olive oil and garlic. Do not over cook, remove peppers from pan and set aside. Leave the garlic pieces in the pan. Add a drop of EEO if needed. Toss in the Swiss chard, sauteed for about 10 -15 minutes to remove some excess moisture. Season appropriately.
In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs , Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper. Slowly disperse the bread crumb mixture with a spoon over the chard as it is cooking in the pan. Keep adding crumbs until all moisture and and fats are absorbed. Toss, and let sit for a few minute until the slightly crisp.
Remove from heat. Plate the chard, top with yellow peppers and almonds and let your island thank you.
Today's lesson: Give chard another chance. It is the unvegetable, vegetable.