Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Chard Bacon & Mushroom Salad

Click to  make full screen and see how easily this salad goes together

Have developed a real passion for chard but I must admit I don't actually know how to pronounce  the word. Is it chard like a splinter of glass or chard like a bit burnt round the edges? What's even weirder  is which ever way I say it it sounds wrong, so I try the other version and - same problem.

What I am certain of is that it is a great veg shredded and cooked down with lashings of butter for a side dish, stirred into lentils and stews for lots of added minerals and the fibre that gives it its wonderful texture, stirred into noodle soups and stir fries or eaten raw in salads like this one. The lovely Gwynnie and the clean eating brigade like it juiced - and I concur, it's a great addiction in small quantities.

Chard is also a town in Somerset with its own museum, but remains unrelated to the leafy vegetable.

I had a bag of it from my veg delivery last week - another thing in its favour is it lives happily in the fridge for a week without turning to slime - and knew salad was the way to go as joy oh joy the sun was shining. Proper balmy days. I had some mushrooms too, as well as radish I bought mostly to add a kick to my morning juice. No beetroot but this is a template, you really can use what you have so long as there's something that can be sliced and cooked and added hot to wilt the leaves a little. The hot stuff I went at with enthusiasm, because bacon is great with mushrooms and with eggs and a poached egg makes it a more substantial meal. Add crusty bread and that's dinner.

Chard Mushroom & Bacon Salad

This is such an easy recipe to adapt, use chorizo instead of bacon or leave out the  bacon altogether and cook the mushrooms in oil, use different nuts and salad vegetables, turn the bread into garlic croutons, it all works.

For 2

200g chard leaves
1 tablespoon basil oil or olive oil
100g smoked bacon, cut into small cubes
150g mushrooms, wiped  clean and sliced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Handful of radish, washed and quartered
Handful of walnuts, roughly broken into largish pieces
2 eggs
Bread and butter to serve

Tear the soft leaves from the thick stems of chard and wash thoroughly. Shred the leaves and put them into a large salad bowl then add the oil and a large pinch of salt and massage that into the leaves. Leave it for 20 minutes or so and the leaves will soften slightly.

In a dry pan fry the bacon over a gentle heat till the fat rends and turns crisply gold. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir to coat in the bacon fat then cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or so until the mushrooms have softened and given up some of their juice. Tip the hot bacon and mushrooms into the chard, keeping back as much of the liquid as possible and put the pan back on the heat. Deglaze with the balsamic vinegar and tip the hot mixture over the salad. Toss well then add the raw radish and walnuts and toss again.

Heat a small pan of water and poach the eggs till the whites are set and the yolk still runny.

Divide the salad between two bowls, top each with a poached egg and have crusty bread on the side.


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