Swiss chard is at its best in the fall and winter months. It has a full flavor, naturally salty, a little peppery, slight sweetness and and a touch of bitter, so good. In the warmer months Swiss chard can be more bitter and less of the other flavors. Even the stems are good and so vibrant in color. Rainbow Swiss chard which usually has a few of each color, white, yellow, orange and red is perfect for this dish. But, but any single color or mix will do fine. Swiss chard bunches tend to be larger from the Farmers market than the produce section of grocery store, so you may want two bunches if the bunches are small 8–10 stalks. It’s nice to have about two cups or so left over to make the Swiss Chard & Creamy Almond Ricotta Pizza the next day for an appetizer or to accompany a hearty soup like the Red Lentil with Ginger and Carrot soup.
Persimmons are in season at the same time and bring the expression “if it grows together, it goes together” home. Persimmons start coming in during the fall months. The most common persimmons available are the Fuyu and the Hachiya. I recommend Fuyu persimmons for this dish because of how they hold their texture in the sautee. The salty, mineral taste of the Swiss chard is complimented by the sweet spiciness of the persimmons. The persimmon slices cook quickly, so adding them at the end for just a couple minutes will be enough. Persimmons are what make the cinnamon really work in this dish. They almost taste like they have cinnamon even before adding the cinnamon.
For both the Swiss chard stems and the leaves, the cooking time will vary depending on the age and tenderness of the chard. Young small stems will wilt and cook faster than the tall older stalks. Total cooking time will range from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. Both the young Swiss chard and old work well for this dish. The pomegranate seeds, persimmon wedges and toasted walnut are garnish, but really add to the final dish and bring so much color to the table. The pomegranate seeds give a lovely burst of fruity, citrusy brightness, the persimmon wedges give a vibrant color and texture and extra sweetness, and the toasted walnuts add a crunch and nuttiness. Persimmons get softer in texture and more saturated in colour after they have been cut. The platter is very festive and looks beautiful at a Holiday table.
Swiss Chard & Persimmon Sautée
Save to BigOven
This is a very inviting way of eating your greens.
1 large bunch Swiss Chard (about 15–20 Stalks) washed and drained
1 red onion, finely diced (about a generorous 1/2 cup)
4 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 Tbls)
1/2 cup, plus 2–3 Tbls vegetable stock or water, divided
2 Fuyu persimmons, ripe but still hard. 1 persimmon julienned (cut in strips about 1/4in x 1in); 1 persimmon cut into 1/4in thick wedges for garnish (optional)
1/8 tsp cinnamon
A few grinds of whole black pepper or 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
A few grates of whole nutmeg or a scant 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional for garnish)
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (optional for garnish)
Tools: chef knife; large cutting board; wok style pan or large sauce pan; flat edge spatula (wooden works well); tongs
Prep the Swiss chard (photos #1–6): Cut the leaves off of the stems. You can also pull the leaves off with your hands; cut the stalks crosswise (against the fiber) into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices; chiffonade cut the leaves—stack a few leaves at a time, roll them up lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/2in ribbons; then cut the other direction so the ribbons aren’t too long to fork up when plated. Repeat with the rest of the leaves.
Heat the pan to medium high. While the pan is heating you can continue to dice the onions and mince the garlic. The pan is ready if you hear a sizzle, the color changes quickly and the onions will jump about the pan.
Add the diced onions and let sit until they pick up some color and even stick a little to the bottom of the pan, then stir before they get too dark (photo #7).
Add the minced garlic, let sit about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then stir in with the onions. Add a tablespoon or 2 of vegetabe stock or water to deglaze the pan to lift the onion and garlic that may be stuck on the bottom (photo #8).
Stir in the stems and let cook about 5–10 minutes stirring and adding a little stock if the pan is dry.They should be still a little crunchy, but softened a little (al dente) before adding the leaves (photo #9).
Add in the 1/2 cup of vegetable stock or water and allow to come to a boil.
Start adding a few cups of the leaves at a time (photo #10) allowing to wilt just slightly then turn over with tongs before the next addition of leaves so there is room in the pan. Toss gently with tongs about every 1–3 minutes (photo #11).
The persimmons can be peeled and cut while the leaves are cooking (see photos #12–14). Cut off the hard stem part and peel the skin. Remove the hard center if there is one. Some persimmons are tender all the through, some have a hard core and some have seeds. Julienne cut the persimmons.
When the Swiss chard leaves and stems are cooked almost to the tenderness you like, add in the persimmon slices (photo #15) and sprinkle with the cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg (photo #16) and mix in with the leaves and allow to finish cooking, about 2 minutes more.
Garnish with the persimmon wedges, pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts.
SOS Free: This recipe is naturally SOS free. Swiss chard, especially in the cold months, has a natural mineral and salty taste. There is no need for salt or any adjustments. It is really good as is.