26 May 2016
Swiss chard, a surprisingly divisive green leaf, is in the spotlight on Knidos Cookery Club this week.
Swiss chard, pazı in Turkish, is one of those love it or hate it vegetables. In a restaurant in Istanbul a few years ago, a Turkish friend was fine with the spinach order but when I suggested the pazı side dish he looked at me as if I had gone mad. He refused to countenance eating it, leaving these particular green leaves to the three foreigners he was with.
On the positive side, in Croatia last summer friends from HaMAS in the UK introduced me to blitva, a local take on this leafy green vegetable that sees it sautéed with potatoes and garlic.
Here at Knidos Cookery Club we love it, especially when the vitamin-packed leaves are combined with red peppers, added more for colour than heat, and topped off with a healthy dollop of natural yogurt, to re-create a dish that is a mainstay in Turkey’s home-cooking lokanta restaurants.
Try this recipe yourself to see which side of the Swiss chard fence you fall on.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
One bunch of Swiss chard (approx 500g)
Three spring onions
Two medium-sized red peppers
Dash of olive oil
Pinches of cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper
One bay leaf
Dollop of yogurt
Sprinkle of chili flakes and nigella seeds
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot add the finely chopped spring onions.
After a few minutes over a medium heat, add the finely chopped red pepper and the bay leaf. Season with pinches of cumin, cinnamon, salt and black pepper.
Clean the Swiss chard thoroughly, shake dry and then roughly chop the leaves and stalks. After cooking the red peppers for five minutes, add the Swiss chard to the pan and stir continuously. You shouldn’t need to add any extra water. Continue cooking and stirring until the Swiss chard begins to soften – 8-10 minutes or so.
Serve with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkle the chili flakes and nigella seeds over this.