Swiss Chard to the Rescue

Ann Mah

Poor creamed spinach. It’s a steakhouse staple, but let’s be honest—it’s usually overshadowed by the chops. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride. How can the plain Jane dish get the world to finally take notice? By changing its greens from spinach to swiss chard! This recipe for creamed swiss chard with lemony breadcrumbswill make you want to forgo the steak and make a meal solely of these silky, creamy, decadent leaves.

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Instead of a heavy béchamel, this recipe uses a streamlined cream sauce that enhances the earthy-sweet flavor of the chard. Butter-sautéed shallots add a savory counterpoint… and then there are the breadcrumbs. Ohhhh, the breadcrumbs. Made from freshly torn bread and toasted with lemon zest, their bright crunch makes this dish so addictive you’ll want to put a ring on it.

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  • ½ cup torn fresh breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, ribs and stems cut into 2” lengths, leaves torn into 2” pieces

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 medium shallots, sliced

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • ¾ cup heavy cream

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Preheat oven to 400°. Toss breadcrumbs, oil, and lemon zest on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Toast, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook chard leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 1 minute. Drain; transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and squeeze well in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and chard ribs and stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tender, 5–8 minutes. Add cream; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add chard leaves and cook, stirring, until warmed through and coated with cream sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Top Swiss chard with breadcrumbs just before serving.

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