Summer in Seattle has been mild and very entertaining. The time has been passing with modest temperatures and easy breezes. Quiet afternoon strolls between Latte and I have been pleasant. There are so many colorful flowers in bloom right now. They look like confetti across the cement, and Latte stops to sniff and admire them all. While strolling through the farmer markets you see just as much color. There is a variety of hues with all the different berries, varieties of lettuces, veggies, and fruit. It is nature’s way of tempting us to indulge in all of them. As I was walking though one of the markets I spotted some rainbow chard that was so beautiful I just had to have it. And I knew just what I wanted to do with it.
While working at a restaurant a while ago they did something to chard that I never thought of doing before. They grilled it. I know it may seem like a foreign concept, but the flavor and texture that was created from this was brilliant. The grilling let the leaves wilt and char every so slightly, while adding a mild smoky flavor that is highly complimenting to the chard. With a grill on medium flame and the leaves and stems rubbed lightly with olive oil you quickly lay them across the flame with a close eye to watch as they start to wither and relax. Once they start to char and crisp on the outer most edges pull them off the grill and that is it. This little effort is highly impressive in flavor.
I like to finish and dress the chard lightly with vinegar, some toasted nuts, grated carrot, golden raisins, and chili flakes. When serving I top it just like the restaurant did with piece of burrata. It adds a little bit of creaminess that compliments the flavors and textures perfectly. We like to eat this as a meal with some crusty bread on the side; but I think this would make a great started to a meal, as well as a nice side to accompany some steaks or chicken. This dish is the epitome of summer to me and has become one of those dishes that I feel is so Seattle in the summer.
Grilled Rainbow Chard with Burrata (Serves 2 - 4)
1 bunch of Rainbow or Swiss Chard (washed, trimmed, thick stems cut off and reserved)
1 large carrot, was he well and grated
1/4 cup slicd almonds toasted
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Burrata (about 1/4 - 1/2 of one per person)
Sea Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
crusty breas, sliced
First, have your grill heated on a medium flame and ready. Lightly bush the leaves with olive oil and place in a pile, and the same with the stems and them place them in a pile. (Please only brush them lightly with the oil. If they are heavily coated it will cause the grill to flame up and possibly burn the chard.)
Next, working in batches place a few leaves on the gill at a time. It is okay to them to overlap a bit. Keeping an eye on them to watch for them to start to wilt. Once they are wilted and the edges start to char pull them off the grill to rest. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Once all the leaves are done grilling start on grilling the stems. You are looking for the stems to become tender and grill marks will appear. Be sure to turn them while grilling, but once tender they are done and can be remover from the grill to rest.
Then, start to chop your stems into small bite size pieces and set them in a large mixing bowl. Stack your chard leaves so that they are somewhat in piles. I like to cut them down the middle and then cross ways into strips. Be sure they are not too big as you want them to be somewhat bitesize. When finished chopping place them in the mixing bowl as well. In the bowl place your carrots, almonds, and gold raisins. In a small separate bowl place the chili flakes, shallot, and red wine vinegar. Whisk it together and drizzle it over the veggies and toss it all together well. Season it with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Finally, when serving slice the burrata with a very sharp knife. Scoop the tossed and dressed chard onto individual plates. Top with a piece of sliced burrata and serve. Enjoy immediately.