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Ingredient of the week: Swiss chard

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20 MAY 2010

Our resident foodie spotted the freshest chard imaginable on his recent trip to Bergerac; thick ivory stems leading to large leafy green tips were sat on trestles at the farmer’s markets, but more often reserved under tables by sharp-eyed shoppers.

The stems do vary in colour – a veritable rainbow awaits at many a market over here. Chard is favoured by Mediterranean cooks. Indeed its ‘roots’ have been traced all the way back to Sicily.

The earliest chard is coming through now in poly-tunnels up and down the country and the delicate fronds will be coming through in full force come June.

The simplest way to serve this delicious, irony rich green is to finely slice it and fry in a little olive oil. Throw in a large splash of water and pop a lid on for a minute. Add a knob of butter and seasoning and toss the pan – the butter and water will combine to form a light sauce.

Alternatively, try cooking as above but instead of water and butter add a squeeze of orange juice, a sprinkling of sultanas and a handful of tossed almonds.

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