There are so many things I’d never touch even with a 10ft pole as a child, but I find myself having cravings for the very same things as I grew older. Fish, Fried Ochro, Pumpkin, Water Cress and any of the more stronger tasting greens like Chorai. But I’ve always been a huge fan of dasheen bush baggie (sp) and due to necessity, I’ve grown very fond of Swiss Card. To this day I still won’t touch “Caraili” or in most cases cooked goat. I can only imagine how dificult it was for my mom having to cook to please the appetite of 4 children. It’s a good thing both my mom and dad never made a fuss about food.
Every spring one of the first plants to hit the dirt in our small backyard garden is Swiss Chard. I usually go overboard by planting too much and end up having more than I could possibly cook in one season. At least Caron’s friend’s mom loves the stuff and accepts the extras without any force
1 bundle Swiss Chard (wash and cut – see image below)
1 chili pepper (optional)
2 tablespoon coconut cream (optional)
Salt * Only if you don’t use the salted cod.
dash black pepper
1 medium onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed/sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 tablespoon salted cod (optional) * please excuse my measurement.. I didn’t know how else to explain this.
Start by washing each leaf of the chard under running water. The chard we get here in Canada seems to have been grown in sandy soil, so washing is very important. Cut out the tips of the stalk (area that may be brown or discolored) but don’t remove all the white stem..we’ll be using that as well. Grab a few leaves and wrap them tightly, then with a sharp knife on a cutting board, start slicing into thin strips.
After you’ve sliced the entire bundle of Chard, place in a drainer and run cold water over it again to ensure any sand/dirt is completely removed.
Peel and sliced the garlic and onion, as well as the chili pepper.
I usually soak the piece of salted cod in hot water for about 10 minutes, then I strip into pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan under med-high heat. Then add the strips of salted cod and allow to cook from about 3 minutes. Then add the onion, garlic and chili. Allow this to cook until it starts going golden brown (about 3-5minutes).
At this point you can start adding the sliced Swiss chard to the pot. It will pile up quite a bit, but as it cooks, it will decrease in size. Keep adding as it goes down in size. Then cover the pot and allow to cook on a low heat. it will release it’s own natural juices. Don’t forget to add a dash of black pepper.
After about 15 minutes or so, add the coconut cream and stir everything around so the cream gets to flavor everything. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes (until all the liquid dries up and everything starts to melt). You may prefer to keep things a bit more crunchy (like a stir fry). The choice is yours… just control the cooking time.
* Salt – since I added the salted codfish, there will be no need for adding additional salt. However if you choose not to use the fish, please taste and add salt as to your liking. The coconut cream (milk) is also optional, but I find that it really enhances the dish so I do recommend that you do use it.
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