My CSA farm share has started and it is nice to see those deep, dark greens in the farm shed once again, fresh from the fields and ready to take home and cook! This week we received chard, arugula, bok choy, kale, and radishes. Opening the refrigerator and contemplating the possibilities brings great joy to my daily “what are we having for dinner?” decision.
It’s fun to share this recipe with you, which has been part of my repertoire since 2003, when I first made it with friends. Minor modifications have crept in over the years. The original recipe was for a soup, but for us it works much better as sauce served over rice or millet. Here I add chard, but any hardy, mild green would work well with the coconut and lime, the dominant flavors in the sauce.
Chard is a subspecies of the common garden beet, Beta vularis and its wild ancestor, the sea beet. Sea beets are native to much of the Mediterranean region and southern Asia. Unlike beets, which have been selected to produce flavorful roots, chard is selected to produce large tender leaves and thick, meaty stalks. Some heirloom varieties available today go back to the 16th century (Harold McGee). I find that the more colorful the chard stalks, the more the flavor resembles that of beets.