The Swiss Chard Season
As mentionned before, quite a few times actually, I'm very much trying to follow the seasons when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Not only do they taste better, they are cheaper and they didn't travel half the world to make it to my plate. Plus nature is smart, smarter than us sometimes, and the vegetables in season bring you what you need at that time of the year.
Like everytime I want to learn something new, I turn to books. Some of the ones I own, like "les cakes de sophie" classify the recipes by month, which is nice to have ideas from, one season to an other. But I also purchased some new ones, the one I like best on that subject is "L'almanach gourmand des 4 saisons", which combines recipes, articles, ingredients list and ideas.
But going to the supermarket with my book, isn't really a handy thing to do. So I was really thrilled when I learned about local farmers that make a weekly basket of vegetables. You can choose the size of your basket, and you get every week vegetables that are in season, different ones depending on their production. It's local and fresh, but also gives me the opportunity to cook vegetables I maybe wouldn't have bought for myself.
Like last weeks swiss chard, which was a first for me. The green part can be used as spinach, it's quite similar, with a bit more crunch and an earthiness to it, I add some to a pie I've made. The white stem need more time to be cooked, but work greatly in a gratin. I'm not a big fan of bechamel, so this is just a light soy version of it, it's for the texture, the flavour comes from the vegetables and herbs.
Swiss Chard Gratin
1 Swiss Chard, the stems
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of Parsley
Butter or Olive Oil
250ml of Soy Milk
1 Tablespoon of Cornstarch
Clean the stems and cut them into pieces of about 2 cm. In a pan, heat up water with some salt, when it boils, add the chard stems and cook for 8 minutes. Drain them and set aside.
Chop the parsley, mince the shallot and the garlic. Heat up a bit of butter or olive oil in a pan, add the shallot and the garlic, aswell as a bit of salt, cook slowly. Add the swiss chard and the parsley and cook for a few more minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, add salt and pepper to your taste. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 160°C
In a sauce pan, pour in the soy milk and the cornstach, and on a medium heat, whisk until it reach the right consistency. This will take a few minutes.
Combine your light bechamel with the chard stems, place the mixture in a gratin dish, and grate parmesan on top. Place it in the oven for about 15 minutes, the parmesan should get a nice golden color.