Sunday, April 3, 2011

Catalan Swiss Chard with Crusty Tomato Bread

I can't believe that it's been almost 12 years since my husband and I traveled through Spain.  Back in May of 1999, we rented a car and spent three weeks traveling the entire country.  I fell in love with their cuisine and the ingredients they use in their everyday cooking: aged sherry vinegar, olives, olive oil, oranges, pimenton, roasted marcona almonds, saffron, sweet piquillo peppers, and tomatoes...just to name a few.

So when my step-son, who lives in Portland with his family (thanks guys!), went to a Farmer's Market this morning and sent me this beautiful picture of Rainbow Swiss Chard, I knew exactly what I would be making for dinner tonight.  The weather today reminded me of a beautiful day in the south of Spain, bright blue sky with temperatures in the mid-70s, with a slight ocean breeze.  And on a day like today, using just fresh, simple ingredients to create a delicious meal...I mean, what more could you ask for!


You can use any leafy green or a mixture of greens for this dish.  Just make sure that you use at least one bunch per person because the greens reduce down to almost nothing...and you want to make sure that you have enough greens to top each piece of crusty bread!  


1 large Italian Sweet Batard, sliced on a bias 1/4" thick pieces
3-4 large juicy Roma tomatoes, grated on box grater
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped marcona almonds or regular salted roasted almonds
1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
2-3 bunches of rainbow or green Swiss chard, tough stems removed, rinsed really well and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup fruity Spanish extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff!)
1 tbsp or a splash of good aged sherry vinegar
Course sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Toast bread on a sheet pan for 5-10 minutes and then turn over and place in the oven for another 5 minutes or so until lightly browned around the edges and crunchy.  Remove bread from the oven and while hot, rub each piece of bread with fresh garlic and set aside.
  • While bread is cooking, wash and grate tomatoes and place in a bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and set aside.
  • Remove the large stems from the Swiss chard, chop into bite size pieces and rinse and drain really well.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and add minced garlic and currants.  Immediately add Swiss chard and cook until slightly wilted.
  • Add a splash of sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, stir until combined and remove from heat.
  • Just before serving, drizzle greens with olive oil and top with chopped almonds.  Enjoy!

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