Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hot Carrot Chard Salad

Bowl of Hot Salad with Chopsticks
Bowlful of Color

Recipe adapted by Bruce from The Greens Cookbook

During these last two weeks of winter, many of us are scanning the landscape for the bright yellows and greens of spring. If you’re a bit tired of Mother Nature’s winter palette, here’s an antidote. Hubby Bruce adapted this colorful winter veggie recipe from his 1985 edition of The Greens Restaurant Cookbook.

Chard Stems without Leaves
Separate Leaves from Stems
Greens has been around since 1979, one of the first large-scale vegetarian restaurants in the US. A subsidiary of the San Francisco Zen Center, they helped popularize vegetarian choices on menus throughout the country by proving that vegetarian fare isn’t boring and that even an all-veggie restaurant can succeed.

According to Greens, the taste and texture of chard stems and leaves make them almost two different vegetables. Bruce noticed the same thing about orange and yellow carrots, both of which we had on hand from our CSA farm share. Yellow carrots look almost white on the outside. They’re softer and starchier than orange, therefore better for cooking than salads. By using the contrasting carrots and the Greens idea of separating chard leaves from stems, Bruce made two vegetables seem like four.

Thin Carrot Sticks
Slice Carrots into 1/4" Diagonals, then into Sticks
The original recipe wasn’t specific about acidic dressing ingredients. The chef could choose lemon or any kind of vinegar, in any quantity. Bruce went with apple cider vinegar and reduced the oil substantially. He also dressed the salad rather than leaving the dressing on the side as Greens served it. Feel free to get creative with dressing ingredients, but I do recommend starting with the garlic and chili infused oil.

Hot Carrot Chard Salad
Warming Salad for Winter into Spring
Carrot Chard Hot Salad
serves 4

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
4 small dried chilis
1 small bunch chard
2 medium orange carrots
1 large white carrot
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

Slice garlic thinly. Heat olive oil slowly in small sauté pan with garlic and dried chilis. Remove from heat when garlic is browned.

Remove chard leaves from stems. Tear leaves into moderately large pieces. Trim stems and cut into 2 inch lengths, then cut lengthwise into narrow sticks. Slice carrots into long ¼ inch diagonals, then cut into narrow strips.

Steam the vegetable individually. Check after 2 minutes, and steam each till tender.
Carrots will take about 3 minutes, chard stems about 3 minutes, and chard leaves about 4 minutes. After steaming each veggie, put into warmed serving bowl and  keep hot.

When all veggies are in serving bowl, remove garlic and chilis from oil. Pour oil and vinegar over veggies and toss, adding salt and pepper to taste.

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