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Mangold, Red chard, or Fresh from the market


I still smile in embarrassment when I recall asking a German waiter what Mangold was. Es ist halt Mangold he replied, flummoxed, and I decided the vegetable strudel sounded better anyway and ordered that instead. Eventually I spotted Mangold at the BioCompany and concluded it was akin to bok choy, and only recently did I bother to look up the word on Leo, where I learned it translates to chard.

Never mind: All this nattering is just to say that if you find a few of these bunches in the gorgeous ruby red variant, with leaves mostly intact and the stems radiant, then snap them up: the earthy beet-like sweetness is not to be beat.

With each bunch, chop off the knotted root end to free the stalks, then draw your knife roughly between where the stalks end and the leaves begin. Lay the leaves aside, then chop the stalks into 1/2 inch chunks and transfer to a bowl. Wash thoroughly. Cut the leaves into 1/2 inch strips, and wash as well. Mince two fat garlic cloves.

In a wide frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat 'til fragrant. Add the chopped stalks and cook for five minutes or so, stirring once. Salt sparingly. Add the minced garlic, and continue cooking with an occasional stir until the stalks are still crisp but the fibrousness has been softened by the heat (about 15 minutes total). Add the leaves and stir thoroughly from the bottom, then cook for 3-5 minutes, until the leaves are wilted and soft. Add another dash of salt, anoint with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, then transfer to bowls or plates. Top, if desired, with a dusting of parmesan.


Photo (ahem) credit: David. For once. I have to say I didn't do a bad job considering the failing light.

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