Poor chard. People seem to get it in their CSA boxes week after week after week (after week). This abundance (some might say excess) can cause a proclaimed chard lover to mutter, “chard… again…” and can lead even those with the deepest vegetable love to develop a mild disdain, an overwhelmed antipathy, or even an outright hatred towards chard!
I love chard but often find myself at a dead end when trying to come up with new ways to prepare the humble green after weeks, months, years of getting it my CSA boxes. How many different ways are there to saute, braise, broil, bake, or cream a leafy green? Sure, I’ll add a little spice, perhaps some candied ginger, an extra dollop of butter, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have exhausted all the possibilities.
This chard preparation, however, is REALLY different. It’s not that often that I find a vegetable dish that tastes nothing like anything I’ve ever made before, and it’s even less frequent that I actually like (let alone love) that vegetable dish! With the first bite of this, I knew I had stumbled on something different, and more importantly, something remarkably delicious. Who’d have thought it would all be thanks to lime pickle?
Indian lime pickle is a very pungent, salty, mildly spicy, incredibly unique condiment made with mustard oil. I first tasted it back in 2001 when I spent a few months living in Jaipur, India. The first time I put Indian pickle in my mouth, I’m pretty sure I spit it out and puckered my face with disgust. Ewww! But somehow I’ve come to love the pungent condiment, and it’s my favorite part of any Indian dining experience (and the fennel/sugar palate cleanser at the end).
Since lime pickle is decidedly an acquired taste, I don’t really recommend you try this recipe unless you know you like Indian pickles. The taste of the pickle in this dish is assertive and unmistakable. Never tried lime pickle or can’t remember if you have? Pick up a jar at an Indian grocery store, or ask for a side dish of pickle the next time you eat at an Indian restaurant. If you get it in a restaurant, it’ll probably be mixed pickle (with mango, lime, carrots, and other vegetables), but the taste is 95% the same. If it turns out you like pungent pickles as much as I do, then by all means, make this easy, unique chard dish and be excited that the world of leafy green vegetables is wider than you might have thought. :)
Swiss Chard with Indian Lime Pickle
Adapted from Epicurious.com
1 1/2 T. Indian Lime Pickle
1-2T. olive oil
juice from half a lemon
1 t. salt
1 T. butter
1 shallot, minced
2 T. water
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and reserved for another use, chopped into bite size pieces
Finely mince the lime pickle. Combine with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and mix. Set aside. Heat butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until translucent. Add chard and toss to coat with butter. Add water, then cover pan to steam the chard, lifting the lid and stirring occasionally until the chard is wilted, about 3-4 minutes total. Add the lime pickle mixture and stir to combine. Cook an addition 30-40 seconds. Serve atop brown rice or as a side dish for an Indian meal. Enjoy!