About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006
Weekend Herb Blogging
In my younger days, silverbeet or Swiss chard, was a regular feature on the menu. Not quite Popeye's favourite but not too far away either. Mum, in common with a lot of other people, would chop off the white stalk part and consign them ignominiously to the bin. She loved silverbeet and it was one of the vegetables that had to be grown in my vegetable plot, which was no fuss as it's so easy to grow. Her favourite way was to simply rinse the leaves in water and pop them straight into a hot pot, just like that, completely unardorned. After a minute or so the leaves would collapse and shrink right down and that was it, they were ready. Often we would find silverbeet leaves popping up in the most unexpected places, like mum's fried rice.

Fast forward a few years and imagine my surprise when reading a cookbook that said you could eat the silverbeet stalks! We had been throwing them away for years and years, but now no more. I'm not sure that my wife D knew the stalks were good, for I bought a bunch of silverbeet, but only wanted the leaves for a certain dish, so I chopped off the stalks and saved them in the vegetable crisper, where they languished for quite some time, until last night, when looking for a vegetable to cook, I chanced upon them.

That's the great thing about silverbeet, one bunch yields either one or two dishes and the possibilities to prepare it are endless. I was in a cooking mood and the thought also occurred to me that this would be an opportunity to enter Kalyn's Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging. I'm going to present two dishes from the one bunch, one using the leaves, the other the stalks. Both dishes seem to be South Beach diet friendly, but maybe Kalyn could suggest something carb like to make it the complete vegetarian meal.

Piquant Silverbeet

1 bunch silverbeet leaves - no stalk
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small chile, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon capers
optional - 1 0r 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
salt & fresh ground pepper

Rinse the silverbeet in cold water to remove any dirt, don't dry and roughly chop. Warm the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold all the silverbeet. Add the garlic, chile, capers and anchovy if using and warm for two minutes, don't fry. Raise the heat to high and add the still wet silverbeet, stir to coat with the oil. Place the lid on the pot and continue to cook on high heat for two or three minutes, or until the leaves collapse. Season and serve.

Braised Silverbeet Stalks

Stalks from 1 bunch silverbeet
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 400 g (1 lb) tin crushed tomatoes
4 stalks thyme, tied
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt & fresh ground pepper

Chop the silverbeet stalks into 1 cm (1/4") pieces across. Sweat the onion in the olive oil until soft, then add the silverbeet stalks and the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the crushed tomatoes and thyme, bring to the boil and simmer for fifteen minutes or until tender but still with some crunch. Add the parsley and season. Serve.
  posted at 9:45 am

At 2:24 pm, Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Ah gee, you're so sweet thinking of something that's South Beach Diet friendly!! You could eat both of these over Shirataki noodles for a vegetarian, low carb meal. (Although SB doesn't have to be that low in carbs, which is one reason I like it!) I have some swiss chard in my garden still which has not died even though I've neglected it for at least a month. That's the garden and the swiss chard, both being neglected quite a bit. I must have some stored up garden karma that things are still growing.

At 3:01 pm, Blogger Reb said...

Hmmmm ... swiss chard ... the nightmares of the travesties committted to this vegetable in my childhood still haunt me. The recipes sound ok, but I'm too nervous to try .... I'd have to do it blindfolded to allay my prejudices.

At 7:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mum always cooked the stalks when we were growing up. I didn't like them much. They would have been much tastier cooked your two ways.

At 1:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read very little about silverbeets. Nice recipe you have.


At 3:21 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So silverbeet it is! This might be the first week where I don't get around to a WHB post, but I'll make sure to hit the "favourites" next week.

I love any greens, especially when cooked like this. Nice simple recipe.

At 9:25 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi kalyn, I didn't start out trying to be South Beach friendly, it was just when I looked back and though they would be good for the diet, but couldn't figure out what carb would be low carb enough.

Hi reb, "Show me the girl at seven and I'll show you the woman..." or something like that. My childhood hate is parsnips and I still can't come at them, though for you the stalks would be okay as they don't taste of silverbeet and are very good in a stir fry.

Hi kitchen hand, the stalks are bland and definitely need help, but I've always loved that earthy flavour of the leaves.

Hi paz, it's funny which vegetables are popular in which countries and for what reasons.

Hi scott, love my greens too. Yeah, next week should be great to see which is the favourite herb. Generally it would be coriander, but with Kalyn's well known love of a certain herb, who knows?

At 10:40 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds great but I'm not a great fan of anchovy except in ceasar dressing.


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