Swiss chard sauteed with onions and garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes and sumac.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 bunches of chard, stemmed and torn into pieces
1 teaspoon dried sumac, plus a few pinches (see notes)
1. Put the torn chard leaves in a large bowl of water and swish them around with your hands to loosen any dirt and let it fall to the bottom of the bowl. Depending on how dirty your chard was to begin with, you may need to drain it and repeat the process once or twice. When clean, leave the chard leaves in the water until you're ready for them.
2. Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to keep browning to a minimum. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute just until fragrant.
3. Add the chard to the pan, a handful at a time, pulling it straight out of the water and letting most of the water drip back into the bowl before adding it to the skillet. Turn the chard in the pan, letting it wilt a little to make room for the rest of the leaves, then cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until fully wilted but still green.
4. Remove the lid, turn the heat to high and add 1/2 teaspoon of the sumac. Bring to a boil and allow about half of the water to evaporate, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in another 1/2 teaspoon of the sumac. Just before serving, sprinkle another couple pinches of the red sumac over the chard for a nice presentation.
Sumac is a lovely red berry from the Middle East that's dried and crushed and used as a spice. It has a subtle citrusy quality that changes a bit with cooking, so in this recipe I've called for adding some of it earlier in the cooking, and the rest off-heat at the end.
I originally created this chard recipe to use as an ingredient in Savory Chard and Parmesan Bread Pudding. The sumac was perfect because it added a bright note at the end, without adding additional liquid (like a squeeze of lemon juice would).