Advertisement

The Flavor of Autumn


Snow showers hit the area this week, but the Swiss chard that’s growing under my frost cloths and in a small unheated greenhouse in our backyard just shrugs off the chilly temperatures. I grow several varieties and all of them seem to taste just a little better with the onset of cold weather.

Swiss chard is easy to grow from seed. Buy a packet or two next spring and sow a few seeds every few weeks in the ground, in a pot or even in a window box. Chard seeds start to germinate as soon as the soil temperature reaches 41 degrees, which is typically in March. Although some sources say that Swiss chard prefers cool, mild weather, dozens of our plants provided many meals throughout the summer.

One of my favorites, ‘Bright Lights’ is a multicolored mix with green, red and bronze leaves and stems of many colors — gold, pink, orange, red and white. You can begin harvesting the baby chard leaves as early as 28 days from seed germination. The tender young leaves may be eaten raw in a salad or you can make a nice quiche, as my foodie friend Jamie did for a Sunday brunch. I snipped several leaves for her from my little greenhouse crop, which will continue to produce more succulent leaves until the temperatures consistently remain below freezing. For now, buy Swiss chard in the produce department of your favorite food store.

Jamie Spomer’s Swiss Chard Quiche

Ingredients

1 pre-made refrigerated pie crust
1 bunch Swiss chard leaves, ribs removed, chopped (5 cups)
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
6-8 oz. chorizo sausage, removed from casing
1 cup 2 percent milk
6 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat 2 Tbsp. butter in a large sauté pan. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper and the fresh thyme, then add the Swiss chard and continue cooking for 2 minutes more until the chard has wilted. Set the Swiss chard mixture in a colander in the sink to cool for 5 minutes, then gently press out any excess moisture.

In a separate pan, brown and thoroughly drain chorizo. Add to Swiss chard mixture.

Place the refrigerated piecrust in a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges of the dough to form a decorative edge, if desired.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Whisk well to combine.

Spread the chard mixture evenly in the pie shell and pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400 F. Turn the oven down to 350 F and continue baking until the quiche is set and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Yum!

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Blog
Good Winter Reads

In our neck of the woods, there’s been little snow to speak of, but the temperatures finally dropped into the teens. And ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - MarApr 2018

I often worry that my neighbors think I’m lazy. Yes, they may see me on my hands and knees, covered with dirt, and they may ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - May/Jun 2014

At the end of February I spent a couple of weeks in a suburb south of San Francisco, doing grandma duty while my daughter ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Attack of the Killer Asparagus

I had one of those horticultural dreams the other night. You know what I’m talking about. The ones where you’re being ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Halftime

“Welcome back to our 2006 coverage, folks. I’m Bud Blast.” “And I’m Hort Holler.” “Well, Hort, we’re about to enter the ...


questions

Can I grow asparagus from seed? I saved the little red berries from my plants.

I am interested in improving fall color in my yard. What shrubs turns red beside burning bush (Euonymus alatus)?

From what I have read, hellebores are supposed to spread. I have a few I planted four years ago, and they seem to be the same as when I planted them. They are planted in a bed of vinca. Should I remove more vinca that surrounds them? I do fertilize them and protect them with a winter mulch. What else should I be doing to have more plants?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement