Swiss Chard & Persimmon Sautée
Swiss Chard & Persimmon Sautée is a colorful festive dish and wonderful way to enjoy winter greens. It is naturally sos free (sugar-free, oil-free, salt-free), vegan and gluten free!
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 stalks of each color, white, yellow, orange and red is perfect for this dish, but any single color Swiss chard 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.
Both the young tender Swiss chard and more mature Swiss chard work well for this dish. The cooking time will vary for both the Swiss chard stems and the leaves, 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 ranges from 10 to 20 minutes.
Persimmons are in season at the same time as Swiss chard and bring the expression “if it grows together, it goes together” home. Persimmons start coming in the Farmers markets in late October and continue to be available through December. The most common persimmons available are the Fuyu which is a non-astringent variety and the Hachiya which is astringent (makes your mouth pucker when you eat it). I recommend Fuyu persimmons for this dish because they are firm and hold their texture in the sautee.
Fuyu persimmons will turn really bright orange as they heat through (so pretty). 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. The salty, mineral taste of the Swiss chard is complimented by the sweet spiciness of the persimmons.
Garnish Toppings for the Swiss Chard & Persimmon Sautee
The pomegranate seeds, persimmon wedges and toasted walnut are garnish, but really add finesse to the final dish and bring so much color to the table. The pomegranate seeds give a lovely burst of fruity, citrus brightness. The persimmon wedges add extra sweetness and a vibrant orange color. Persimmons get softer in texture and more saturated in color after they have been cut. Toasted walnuts add a crunch and nuttiness.
The platter is very festive and looks beautiful as a side dish at a Holiday table. Swiss Chard & Persimmon Sautee goes beautifully with the Red Lentil with Ginger and Carrot soup. For a great appetizer, reserve about two cups or so to make the Swiss Chard & Creamy Almond Ricotta Pizza the next day or within a couple days.
Tools Used in this Recipe
- Chef Knife
- large cutting board
- salad spinner to wash chard
- wok style pan or large sautee pan
- flat edge spatula (wooden works well)
- grater for nutmeg
- 1 large bunch Swiss Chard washed and drained about 15–20 Stalks
- 1 small red onion finely diced (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 strips about 1/4in x 1in); 1 persimmon cut into 1/4in thick wedges for garnish (optional)
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper or freshed cracked from whole peppercorns
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg or fresh grated whole nutmeg
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds optional for garnish
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts optional for garnish
- Prepare the Swiss chard (photos #1–6): Cut the leaves off of the stems. 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.