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Underestimated? This is how you really get something out of chard

In contrast to spinach, chard is usually neglected - although it looks very similar to spinach.

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Underestimated? This is how you really get something out of chard

In contrast to spinach, chard is usually neglected - although it looks very similar to spinach. Swiss chard is a turnip family and has been around for a long time, its high season ends in September, so these days. By the end of the First World War, Swiss chard is said to have been extremely popular in this country. According to reports, our ancestors liked to eat leafy greens quite often – until at some point a certain spinach outstripped them.

Almost as rich in potassium as spinach, chard is more intense, aromatic, spicier in taste and significantly richer in bitter substances. There are different types, such as chard with white, red, yellow or orange stems, which can be processed just like the leaves, which can be up to 30 centimeters long. The brightly colored stems look great on a plate, which in itself is a good reason to give this chronically underrated vegetable a little extra attention. Added to this is its versatility and the fact that it can be used completely.

Swiss chard has a limited shelf life. Fresh chard will keep in the fridge for up to three days. If you want to enjoy it all year round, there is only one thing to do: freeze it. If you don't want to use it straight away, but only, say, tomorrow or the day after, then treat it like asparagus - wrap it in a damp cloth and put it in the crisper.

Swiss chard is a wonderful vegetable side dish and can be prepared very quickly. Wash the leaves and stems thoroughly, then cut both into narrow strips. (By the way: Swiss chard tends to turn brown quickly at the cut points. So: process quickly after cleaning and cutting.) Sauté the diced onions in butter, then add the stalks first; they have a longer cooking time than the leaves. After a minute or two, add the leaves. Sweat both together, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg - done. If you like, incorporate the steamed chard into your mashed potatoes; mix it in and mix vigorously. Chard puree tastes great with fish. A spoonful of mustard sauce goes very well with it, preferably homemade, of course.

Because chard, as mentioned, is a bit more bitter than spinach, it is not suitable for children's favorite dish (at least our children prefer to avoid it). Trick one: Add a dash of cream or a pinch of sugar, it will ease the worst of the bitterness. Trick two: combine it with pasta. It is well known that noodles always work. And lemon pasta with chard and ricotta has what it takes to convince even people for whom bitter taste is only allowed in black coffee.

The dish goes like this: For four people you need 700 grams of fresh ribbon noodles (emphasis on fresh; if you use ready-made noodles, you should easily get by with 400 grams). Five tablespoons of butter. Two shallots, peeled, halved and sliced ​​into rings. Two cloves of finely chopped garlic. 500 grams of chard cut into strips (leaves and boots, separate, you know, because of the different cooking times). Gladly take colored Swiss chard, it just looks nicer. 200 grams of ricotta. Juice and zest of half a lemon. 100 milliliters of cream. Salt, pepper and grated parmesan.

Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter until colorless. At the same time, cook the pasta in salted water for three to five minutes. First add the chard stalks to the pan, then after two minutes the leaves. Remove the pot from the stove, drain the pasta and reserve about 100 milliliters of pasta water. Pot back on the stove. Add the pasta water and cream to the pan with the chard, then stir in the ricotta. Finally fold in the pasta and season with salt, pepper and lemon.

Don't take too much time with all this - fresh pasta needs to be processed in a hurry. Arrange on four plates and sprinkle with Parmesan. An excellent meal. And preparing them takes only slightly more time than it took you to read this text.

Walter Stemberg and his son Sascha run the star restaurant "Haus Stemberg" in Velbert, whose star in the "Guide Michelin" restaurant guide was recently confirmed for the ninth year in a row. The Stembergs write about the basics of cooking in WELT AM SONNTAG. All episodes to read online.

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