Swiss chard

sesame and onion seed crusted sword fish with buckwheat soba and chard sauté

sesame and onion seed crusted sword fish with buckwheat soba and chard sauté

I know eating swordfish is supposed to be naughty. But per our fish monger, this one was line caught off the coast of California. So that’s good. It looked super fresh with that beautiful seafood aroma and so after listening to his explanation he convinced me. I lost my guilt and purchased 3 steaks for our dinner party. The whole dinner had a Japanese, South East Asian flair to it. It is pretty easy to make and delicious.

sesame and onion seed crusted sword fish with buckwheat soba and chard sauté

for the fish:

3 swordfish steaks or other similar fish steaks of your preference
1 tbsp sesame seeds (or more)
¾ tbsp black onion seeds (or more)
Lime juice
Nori strips (edible seaweed strips)
Olive oil

the noodles:

buckwheat soba noodles for 4 people cooked per package instructions, rinsed and kept warm

for the veggies:

1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves roughly torn
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil

for the sauce:

1 clove garlic grated into paste
1 tsp fresh ginger grated into paste
1 tsp chile garlic paste
3 tbsp soy sauce (or more)
¾ tbsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp sugar
¾ tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 whole scallions, sliced

Prepare the sauce mixing all the ingredients together, except for the scallions. Taste it and adjust flavors. It should be bold a bit salty, tangy, smoky, sweet and spicy. Drop in scallions then set aside.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Put chard in and cook for about three minutes. Drain and squeeze as much water as possible from it. Add olive oil to a skillet, then garlic and cook until garlic is aromatic. Add chard and cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with some salt and black pepper. Transfer to a bowl, keeping it warm.

Rinse and pat dry fish steaks with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Mix seeds together and sprinkle on both sides of steaks. Using the same skillet, add a tad of olive oil, bring temperature to medium high, add sword fish steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side (if your pan is too small do it in batches). Remove from pan and let rest for a couple of minutes, keeping it warm. Cut into bit size strips. Squeeze a few drops of lime juice over the fish.

Place soba noodles on a serving platter. Toss with sauce. Top with sautéed chard, then the fish, nori and serve.

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I adapted this marvelous garbanzo bean recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Plenty.

sautéed chickpeas with Swiss chard, spinach and labneh sauce

sautéed chickpeas with Swiss chard, spinach and labneh sauce

I like so many things about Ottolenghi’s book: plenty of them. In particular, from reading and trying out his flavorful recipes, I realize now that unknowingly we’ve been using principles from and eating PLENTY at home all along. Ottolenghi focuses my attention on the process and the order in which ingredients are added or combined to a dish to maximally preserve the individual flavor and freshness of each, while combining harmoniously in a final dish that will taste even better. Here the aromas and volatile components present in herbs such as mint and cilantro, and the powerful presence of garlic all play their individual roles, adding layers of complexity to this meal. I feel I am acting sort of like one of the Iron Chefs today, trying awkwardly to explain myself to the panel of celebrity judges. Yet in a simple dish made with ingredients as prosaic as beans sometimes you truly can find poetry.

sautéed chickpeas with Swiss chard, spinach and labneh sauce

6 cups cooked chickpeas
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 medium sized carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
2 bunches rainbow Swiss chard
2 cups pre washed spinach leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tbsp fresh mint, julienned
2 tbsp cilantro, julienned
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

for the labneh sauce:

¾ cup labneh
Water
Kosher salt
Olive oil

Wash Swiss chard in lots of water. Separate stalks from leaves. Cut stalks into ½ inch segments. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the Swiss chard stalks in, cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Add chard leaves and cook for a couple of minutes more. Add spinach leaves in the last 30 seconds. Drain.

Add half of the olive oil to a sauce pan on high heat. Next add cumin seeds followed by the carrots and sauté for about 5 minutes. The olive oil will get tinted orange from carrot and the air will be infused with the scent of cumin.

Add chick peas, chard and spinach, give it a good stir. Cook for about 8 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add garlic, cilantro, mint, salt, pepper and the rest of the olive oil. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. Transfer to a serving platter

To make the labeneh sauce, place labeneh in a bowl, add about 1/3 cup of water and whisk until it reaches the consistency of a thick yogurt. Add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Spoon it over the chick peas and serve.

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I’ve made this delicious recipe before but this time around it is even more special to me because this Swiss chard has Potrero Hill terroir. That’s right! My community garden plot has finally produced its first crop.

sautéed rainbow Swiss chard with garlic and lemon

sautéed rainbow Swiss chard with garlic and lemon

I was able to harvest this batch of tender, shiny chard leaves from my thriving plants. They are clearly enjoying soaking up the California sunshine and Pacific breezes in the windy heights of Potrero Hill. What an exciting moment! We’ve been working on this garden since February and it is finally paying off. Now I’m really looking forward to harvesting the different types of kale and the sweet peas soon.

one of the Swiss chard plants in my community garden plot

one of the Swiss chard plants in my community garden plot

fresh rainbow Swiss chard from my community garden plot

fresh rainbow Swiss chard from my community garden plot

This dish is very simple to make. In the original post, I used Meyer lemon. This time I used a squirt of Lisbon lemon at the end just to give a hint of sourness. This is a perfect side dish of greens to accompany almost any meal. I served mine with Pindzur, rice and cranberry beans. Yum!

sautéed home-grown rainbow Swiss chard with garlic and lemon

14 leaves Swiss chard, stems cut into ½ pieces, leaves roughly cut into large pieces or left whole
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Juice of ½ Lisbon lemon

Add oil to a skillet on high. Add garlic and sauté for a couple of seconds until aromatic. Add chard stems and cook for a minute. Add chard leaves. Shake the pan a couple of times to coat leaves with olive oil. Cover and vigorously continue to shake the pan to cook leaves evenly. It’s ready when volume has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice, transfer it to a platter and serve.

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