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Rainbow Chard with Lemon, Fennel, and Parmigiano

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Serves eight.

Don’t throw those chard stems away—cooking them with the chard leaves gives this recipe lots of extra flavor and texture.

  • 4 large bunches rainbow or Swiss chard (about 3-1/2 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb, plus 1/2 cup chopped fronds (fronds optional)
  • 2 medium lemons
  • 6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (shave with a vegetable peeler)

Cut the chard stalks off just below each leaf and thinly slice the stalks. Chop the chard leaves into large pieces. Keep the stalks and leaves separate.

Bring a large, wide pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the sliced fennel and chard stalks and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander. (The chard can be cooked to this point up to 3 hours ahead.) Rinse and dry the pot.

Finely grate the zest from the lemons and set aside. Cut the top and bottom ends off the lemons, then stand each on a cut end and slice off the peel to expose the flesh. (Try to remove all of the bitter white pith.) Cut the lemon segments from the membranes, letting them drop into a small bowl.

Heat the oil and garlic in the pot over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the fennel fronds (if using) and the lemon segments and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute. Add the chard leaves and stems and fennel and cook, stirring, until heated through. Stir in the lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, sprinkled with the Parmigiano.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): 11; Fat Calories (kcal): 100; Saturated Fat (g): 2; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 13; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 530; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Christopher Hirsheimer; food styling by Melissa Hamilton

This recipe tasted very good, though it was a bit gritty -- Be careful to wash the chard thoroughly. HOWEVER... I cook vegetarian dishes every day, and I'm used to a lot of chopping and prep work. It doesn't faze me. But this recipe required so much fussy prep, that although it was good, it just wasn't worth it. The prep just wouldn't end. I only used 3 (not 4) large bunches of chard and ended up with 24 cups! When I came to the step of segmenting the lemons, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Only try this recipe when you have a LOT of time on your hands.

This recipe tasted very good, though it was a bit gritty -- Be careful to wash the chard thoroughly. HOWEVER... I cook vegetarian dishes every day, and I'm used to a lot of chopping and prep work. It doesn't faze me. But this recipe required so much fussy prep, that although it was good, it just wasn't worth it. The prep just wouldn't end. I only used 3 large bunches of chard and ended up with 24 cups! When it got to segmenting the lemons, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Only try this recipe when you have a LOT of time on your hands.

This recipe tasted fantastic with the combination of garlic and lemon parmesan on the greens. It can be somewhat prepared ahead of time so that is good for entertaining. I made it with a holiday dinner and it was very festive.

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