The leaves and stems of the chard are almost two different vegetables in terms of texture and taste. Here they are served together with narrow slivers of parsnip dressed with oil, seasoned with garlic and chilies. This is a clean dish, and goes well with more complicated creamy dishes. It can also be served at room temperature as a salad, with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice added for tartness.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 – 4 small dried red chili peppers
1 bunch chard
3 medium parsnips
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
vinegar or sliced lemon wedges
1. Warm the olive oil in a pan with the garlic and chili peppers. Once the garlic slices are brown, remove them and set the oil and peppers aside.
2. Separate the chard stems from the leaves. Cut the leaves into large pieces and wash them. Trim the uneven ends off the stems. Cut the stems into 2-inch lengths then lengthwise into narrow strips.
3. Peel the parsnips, slice them into long, ¼-inch diagonals, then into narrow strips.
4. Bring 4 – 5 quarts of water to a boil, and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Briefly cook the chard stems and parsnips separately until each is tender – about 1 minute for the parsnips and 2 – 3 for the chard stems. Remove from the water and set them aside. Plunge the chard leaves into the boiling water, and cook them until they are tender, about 3 – 5 minutes. When they are done, remove them to a colander. Press against the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon to get rid of the excess water, then put in a bowl with the stems and parsnips and toss them with olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve them with vinegar or slices of lemon.