The National Trust were having a Heritage Open Day on Saturday, 12 September and we took the opportunity to visit Osterley House, set in Osterley Park. We’d both been to the park but had never set foot inside the house and we were pleasantly surprised to thoroughly enjoy our visit – perhaps we’ll take visitors there next time. The surrounding park is huge and consists of not only the manicured gardens but also working farms (we always take the time to pat the horses). The existence of these farms also results in a farm shop filled with lots of magnificent fresh produce, located near the parking lot.

I bought a few bits and bobs from the shop but was totally indecisive over a massive bagful of Swiss chard going for a song. How was I going to carry this home on my bicycle? Well, we found a way:

How to Transport Swiss Chard

With pinenuts and raisins at home, I knew what I’d do with our new treasure. With the leaves, I made a Catalan Style dish to go alongside a tortilla I made with the colourful stems. It’s not necessary to separate the stems when making this dish though – I just liked the idea of a full Swiss chard dinner! Anyway, this makes for a lovely vegetable side dish, with the sweetness of the raisins and nuttiness from the pine nuts complimenting the greenery. Spinach is a good substitute for the chard, but use lots as it shrinks more.

Catalan Style Swiss Chard

Catalan Style Swiss Chard
serves 2 as a side dish.

500g Swiss chard
30g pine nuts, lightly toasted
30g black or golden raisins
1 clove garlic, minced or finely sliced
2 tbsps olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Wash your Swiss chard and cut the thick stems from the leaves. You can either save the stems for another dish or slice them and boil them and add them later with the boiled leaves (the stems take longer to boil). Chop the leaves into smaller pieces and blanch them in boiling water until tender (you may need to do this in batches). Drain, squeezing out the water, and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pinenuts and soaked raisins and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and continue sauteing until the garlic is fragrant. Add the cooked Swiss chard and continue sauteing for another couple minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

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