Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 21, 2021

© Ben Fink

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Stir-Fried Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts and Balsamic Butter

As it sits, cooked chard begins to release liquid which, enhanced with butter and balsamic, is delicious. This dish would be perfect with polenta or a grain pilaf to soak up the liquid, and its deep, earthy flavours would also marry particularly well with a juicy steak.

1 tsp. (5 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. (5 ml) soy sauce
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) dark brown sugar
12 oz. (375 g) Bright Lights Swiss Chard (do not trim)
1 tbsp. (15 ml) peanut oil
3 tbsp. (45 ml) pine nuts
Kosher salt
2 tsp. (10 ml) finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp. (15 ml) unsalted butter

In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. Pull or cut the stems away from the chard leaves. Cut or rip the leaves into 2- to 3-inch (5- to 7.5-cm) pieces and wash and dry them well (they often harbour a lot of grit). Rinse the stems and slice them crosswise into ¼-inch (6.5-mm) pieces.

Heat the peanut oil in a large (12-inch/30.5-cm) nonstick stir-fry pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot (it will loosen and spread out), add the pine nuts and cook, stirring almost constantly, until they’re all lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Watch carefully, because they brown quickly. Remove the pan from the heat and use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the pine nuts to a heat-proof plate or pan, leaving behind as much fat as possible.

Return the pan to the heat, add the chard stems and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrunken and beginning to brown lightly, about 5 minutes. (They will begin to crackle in the pan as moisture evaporates.)

Add the garlic and stir-fry just until fragrant, a few seconds. Add the chard leaves and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt and, using tongs, toss the chard leaves in the pan just until wilted (30 to 45 seconds). Scrape the balsamic mixture into the pan, stir and remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, toss and stir until it’s melted. Fold in half of the pine nuts. Transfer the chard (including all the stems and liquid) to a small serving bowl and garnish with the remaining pine nuts. Serves 2 to 3.

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