Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Use Your Booty: Swiss Chard Tabouli Salad

Did you know that Swiss chard is actually two vegetables in one? You use the leaves like spinach and cook them down, or simply slice them and serve them raw. The steams are edible too and since they'll make up a large part of the bunch, it's best to use them. Cut the stems into small pieces and sauté. You can add them to soups, salads or bake them into a quiche.

This salad is a play on tabouli, the Middle Eastern parsley and bulgur wheat salad. I used sautéed Swiss chard leaves and stems as a substitute for the parsley and topped each serving with a few slices of ricotta salata.

Swiss Chard Tabouli Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 or more as a side dish.
This is great made a day or two ahead.
  • 2 cups bulgur wheat, medium or fine texture
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 lemons
  • olive oil
  • 6 ounces ricotta salata, farmer cheese, or feta
Cover the bulgur with boiling water and let it steep. Depending on the texture, it will take between 20-40 minutes to soften. Add a little more water if the wheat soaks it all up. When the wheat is tender, drain off any remaining water, squeezing the wheat to make sure it's not soggy.

Trim the chard stems from the leaves. Cut the stems crosswise into 1/2" pieces. Cut the leaves into thin strips. Sauté the stems in a little oil over medium-high heat until just starting to soften. Add the chard leaves and continue to sauté until the leaves are wilted.

Stir the chard and tomato into the wheat. Squeeze lemon juice over the salad and add a good glug or two of olive oil as well as some salt and pepper. Stir and taste. Add more lemon, oil or salt as needed (remembering that you're adding a salty cheese at the end).

If you're serving this a main dish, it's nice to lay slices of cheese across the dish. If it's to be a side dish, crumble the cheese into the salad so it's evenly distributed.

Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and some edible blossoms if you have them (I used chive and broccoli rabe flowers).

This Summer, I am chronicling my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience. My CSA share is from Arrowhead Farm, a farm based in Newburyport, MA. Each week, I am posting about what was in my share and what I'm doing with it. By way of full disclosure, I won my share through a raffle and am not paying for it. However, Arrowhead did not know I was entered int he raffle, and I received no special consideration because of this blog.


Koek! said...

This is one of my favourite, favourite salads... :-)

Stefan Jones said...

I once took heat from someone for describing tabouli as a "bulgar wheat salad." He had a wife from the Middle East and thought of the dish as primarily a parsley salad.

Recently, I thought I'd amp up the parsley content of a tabouli dish. I bought a box of tabouli mix, boiled it, and set it to cool in the fridge overnight. Before serving I mixed in half a head of minced parsley (maybe a cup and a half?) and a chopped tomato.

And it was great! Really zesty and satisfying.

Sunday Cook said...

Very true Stefan. True tabouli is a parsley salad garnished with bulgur. But then again, I don't think true tabouli has Swiss chard in it, so I'm just pissing off the tabouli regulatory authorities anyway. :-)

I also like, as I'm sure you discovered, that parsley is very cheap and an easy way to get some green vegetables into your diet.

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