Saturday, October 17, 2009

Spicy Garlic Chard with Fried Eggs

This dish is so simple, but depends on the quality of the ingredients to really shine. What you need to make it right are really good eggs and really good bread. If you don't have a source for eggs from chickens that run around your mother's yard like I do, at least buy some cage-free eggs, preferably even organic. Next, you need some wonderfully crusty bread with a silky, chewy interior (Like Iggy's or Orchard Hill Bread). Full ingredient list is: garlic, dried chili peppers, olive oil, chard, eggs, bread, salt and pepper. I like red chard or rainbow chard, but green chard works just as well, although not as pretty. I started making this after asking my mom for ideas to use some chard, and she suggested this family recipe going back a couple generations to my farming great-grandparents. I've modified the spicy part to fit my pantry and personal taste..

Here's how to make it for two people. Use a large skillet, and cover bottom with olive oil. Drop 2 tien tsin peppers or 3-4 arbol peppers in the oil and heat over medium heat until peppers darken. Discard peppers. Add to oil one large clove of garlic, minced. Shake pan for a minute or so, but do not let garlic brown too much. Next, add in about a half dozen large stalks of chard, the leaves chopped into wide ribbons, the stalks thinly sliced, so it will all cook evenly. Turn the chard in the oil and garlic with tongs, and stir occasionally over medium-low heat until wilted down and tender, while doing this, sprinkle in a pinch or two of salt. When chard is almost completely tender, push the chard to the outer sides of the pan into a ring. Add a little more olive oil, so that the eggs don't stick (skip this if using a nonstick pan). Have two eggs in one cup and two eggs in another cup. Simultaneously, pour the eggs into the pan so the eggs land evenly in the center of the pan. Drop heat to low and cook to until whites are set, but the yolks are still runny. Divide pan down the middle and slide onto two plates. Sprinkle a little salt atop eggs, add some fresh ground black pepper and serve with the good bread.

This recipe uses about half a bunch of chard by grocery store standards. Use the other half in this soup.