So… my children’s elementary school has a great new program whereby I can order organic produce, guaranteed to have been plucked from the ground within 24 hours of delivery. I’ve received two boxes so far:
With the first delivery of Chinese Broccoli – with the little white flowers still on it!), I made a delicious stir-fry with garlic, green onions, yellow and orange peppers, chicken, seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. I served it over brown rice. Explaining it to the kids as just another form of broccoli (which they already liked) helped to ease the introduction and, aside from my three year-old, they ate happily.
With the chard from the second box (and with apologies to a Martha Stewart feature at least 15 years ago,) I made Swiss Chard Bundles:
I started by blanching my chard leaves and brushing them with olive oil.
Next, I layered a base of mozzarella cheese, slices of Roma tomatoes,a smear of pesto, some freshly ground sea salt and pepper, and another drizzle of olive oil. Alternatively, use some fresh basil leaves in place of the basil.
I rolled up from the bottom, folding in the sides as I went. Then, I brushed the exterior of the bundles with olive oil.
One of my favorite tools in the kitchen is my grill pan. I actually have two: a cast iron, which is superior for high heat and super-impressive grill marks, and a nonstick version, which is SO easy to clean that it usually wins out over the cast iron. I even make grilled cheese in it, use a press for panini and chicken breasts and this pan goes into the oven, so I can finish off meats that way, if needed.
But I digress… pop these bundles into the grill pan over medium heat and let cook, undisturbed, for about five minutes. I like to use tongs with silicone tips so as not to mar my pan.
When you flip them, you’ll notice that they have slightly charred on the bottom. I absolutely love this flavor. The second side won’t take as long… probably about 3 minutes, though you could peek to check the browning, if you’d like.
Incidentally, this recipe can also be done on the grill. If you choose to do this, soak some wooden skewers in water a half an hour before you make the bundles and use those to secure the packets. They fall apart much more readily on the barbecue.
I had to get a sneak peek to make sure the cheese was melted properly! My kids decided that these tasted like pizza and, again, except for the three year-old, gobbled them up (then finished off the three year-old’s plate!)
I hope you will try this at home. It is so easy, so delicious and an unusual presentation of a vegetable that is often overlooked or considered difficult to cook.