Well, it's happened .. the markets are officially overflowing with all things green - and I love it! There seems to be a moment in June where this magic takes place. Every farm table has huge piles leafy greens. Multitudes of lettuce leaves, scallions, onions, spinach, kale, and bright beautiful chard. In particular: rainbow chard and the colors are just stunning.
I picked mine up from the Amawalk Farm table at the John Jay Market last weekend. I was there doing my demo and realized I had not taken the chance to walk around and get a few things, so right at the end of the market I was able to grab that last 2 bunches of these beauties! I also picked up some garlic scapes from my favorite table Gaia's Breath Farm.
You can find chard easily in the produce section at the market, but now is the time to pick some up at the farmers market. Everyone has it and you know it was just harvested before they head to the market, making it super fresh. Chard is a great source of Vitamins A, K and C. The flavor is similar to spinach and beet greens, but I think a little sweeter and distinct. If the leaves are big like the ones above I would recommend a light sauté. If smaller you can add to your salad raw. The stalks, especially the bigger ones are tough, so sautéing is a must.
That said, you typically sauté the chard, maybe adding a little garlic, onion and perhaps bacon? It seems to be the thing to do with it. Or, as I mention above, if the leaves are young and tender it's lovely in a salad. But I've had cold soup on my mind over the past week. It's been just so hot here lately and a cold soup is just about the most perfect thing to have for a light lunch. Something that will fill up up, but not weigh you down. So I got to thinking ... why not try to create a cold chard soup?
To read more about rainbow chard and see my easy recipe using it click here.
Maria Reina is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Port Chester, NY. In her free time she loves hanging out at local Farmers Markets in Westchester County doing cooking demos with seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter