Warm Chard Salad with Carrots and Balsamic Vinegar
It is often said that with chard you get two vegetables in one. The stalks are like a sweeter, less astringent version of celery when lightly braised as they are here. The leaves are not unlike spinach, although they hold their shape better when cooked. This is a great light lunch, and an excellent side dish for grilled fish.
3 carrots, topped and tailed (approx. weight 400g)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6. Scrub but don’t peel the carrots and cut them diagonally into 2 cm thick slices. Toss the carrots in 1 tbsp. of the oil and transfer them to a baking tray, bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, wash the chard and tear the leaves from the stalks. Slice the stalks into similar sized pieces to the carrots and shred the leaves roughly. Keep them separated and set both aside. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and when it is hot add the garlic. A minute or so later add the chard stalks, salt and vinegar. Stir, cover and allow to ‘sweat’ on a very low heat for 10 minutes, or until the stalks are very tender. When they are, add the leaves to the pot and until they have wilted. Mix the carrots with the leaves and all their juices in a large mixing bowl then season to taste. Garnish with sesame seeds or pine nuts if you wish, or for a more indulgent version, use shavings of your favourite crumbly cheese. Parmesan or a mature Lancashire is ideal.