Smoky, Smoky Swiss Chard!

 Smoky, smoky Swiss chard....

Smoky, smoky Swiss chard....

After a garden season that seemed like it might never end, there is a frost expected this week. And, I found myself frantically trying to use up what is left in the ground. I’ve been pickling and drying and canning and freezing produce all week. Still, there’s plenty of green goods left that I won’t get to. 

One of the most bountiful crops that Kate grew is Swiss chard. The stuff starts giving in July and just doesn’t stop. It might survive the light frost that is coming my way, but soon, it’ll be gone. So, we're eating it anyway we can for the next week. I slice it into paper-thin ribbons for a raw salad. I braise it into pasta sauces and steam it with a ton of garlic. But my new favorite way to make the stuff is on the grill. 

Swiss chard holds onto a surprising amount of smoke when it is cooked over charcoal. To prevent it from falling through the grate of the grill I tie the bunches together with kitchen string and place the whole leaves, tens and all, over the coals. The outer leaves get chard (pardon the pun) and the inner leaves of the bunch steam into a silky texture. Then, when it’s done, I cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces and serve them with the last of the cherry tomatoes from the garden. It’s one last nod to cooking outdoors and the garden. Until next year, my friend. IK

Smoky Swiss Chard with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4 to 6

1 large bunch Swiss chard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pint ripe cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Preheat a charcoal grill. 

Tie the stems of the chard together with kitchen string to form a bunch, then brush the leaves with about 1/2 of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the chard, covered and turning occasionally, over indirect heat, until the outer leaves are crispy and the inner leaves are tender, about 12 minutes.

While the chard is cooking place the tomatoes, the remaining oil, the vinegar, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper in a cast iron skillet and place over direct heat on the grill. Cook the tomatoes until they are blistered and tender, about 15 minutes.

Cut the chard into bite-sized pieces and toss with the tomatoes and any juices in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Ian KnauerComment