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Fried Polenta + Rainbow Chard

September 19, 2009

DSC_0011Have you ever buy something because it’s brightly colored and beautiful?  And I’m not talking about jewelry or clothing (although that has happened as well), but, rather, fruits or veggies.

No?  Okay, but I swear I’m not the only one! If you’ve been reading my blog (thanks!!!) then you know that this is something I’m prone to do.

Yesterday at the farmers market I bought some rainbow chard because it was so darn pretty and I spent so much time just looking at it, soaking in the bright colors and the green leaves, I knew I had to have it.  I brought it back to the office (yes, I went to the farmers market while I was at work) and one of my colleagues commented that it’s one of the those veggies that’s Hard To Cook With.  You know what I mean– veggies like parsnips and daikon radish that if someone gave them to you, you’d probably give them back.DSC_0021

When I proudly showed Nate my brightly colored bunch of leafy greens, he asked what I was going to do with them.  My response was “I don’t know.  I’ll figure it out tomorrow.”  While my tendency to buy vibrantly colored veggies may seem shallow (it’s what’s on the inside that counts! or so I hear…) and child-like, I think it’s actually a blessing in disguise because I buy things that I’ve never cooked with before.

I made polenta about a month ago and it’s been sitting in the fridge, alone and neglected since I didn’t feel like eating it left-over.  I pulled it out and sniffed the polenta (to check if it had gone bad, you see) last week and it was still good, but when I took it out tonight something had changed and it smelled….funky.  This meant I had to make more polenta, get it cold so it would set because I wanted it fried and you can’t fry soft polenta.

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This put my dinner back about an hour, and I tided myself over with some chocolate chips.  It was the only suitable snack food I could find, I swear.

Turns out swiss chard really isn’t that Hard to Cook With.  I separated the leaves from the stems, chopped up the stems, and sauteed some garlic.  I tossed in the chard stems, let that sautee and then I added in the leaves so they could wilt a little.

It was pretty easy, and it would have been quick too if I hadn’t had to make a fresh batch of polenta.  The chard is indeed a lot like kale, with a little bitterness that disappears as you sautee it in the garlic.  Definitely something I’d make again!

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Grilled Polenta with Swiss Chard

Makes 2 servings for 2 moderately hungry people

1/2 cup polenta

1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, stems separated from leaves and chopped

3-5 cloves garlic, diced

olive oil

red pepper flakes

parmesan cheese

Cook polenta according to package directions (there should be directions on the bag) or use left-over polenta.  If making polenta fresh, spoon polenta into a baking dish so it’s a thin layer.  Put it in the freezer for about an hour so it gets very cold.

Cut polenta into squares and fry in a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Let it get really brown on each side (mine didn’t brown enough) and then flip carefully.

Sautee the garlic in olive oil with red pepper flakes.  After a minute or two, add chard stems.  Sautee until stems are tender and add leaves.  Cook until leaves are wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on top of polenta with some grated parm.  Enjoy!

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