Recipe: Garlicky Greens Over Polenta
Beautifully flavored with garlic, spicy red pepper flakes, and a splash of vinegar, these greens prove you don’t need to add more salt in order to create more flavor.
Serves 2, generously
• 1 bunch Swiss or rainbow chard
• 3 cups cold water
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 3/4 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
• 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
• 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar (or any vinegar you have on hand, or lemon juice)
• Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
• 1 to 2 tablespoons dried currants
To prep the greens: Cut off the bottom sliver of the stems and discard. Cut off the rest of the stems (set aside), then fold the leaves in half and remove the central ribs. Chop the stems and ribs crosswise, like celery half-moons, and give them a good rinse.
To make the polenta: Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. (Nonstick will aid clean-up enormously.) Slowly stream in the polenta, whisking all the while. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently (I used a nonstick whisk but you can use a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon), until the water is absorbed and the polenta is nice and creamy, about 20 minutes. (You should aim for a very low heat with an intermittent sputter.)
Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
Meanwhile, cook the greens: Combine the oil and garlic in a large skillet and set over medium heat. Warm the garlic, stirring frequently, until fragrant and sizzling, but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped chard stems and a pinch salt and pepper, and continue sautéing for about 2 more minutes.
Now add 3 big handfuls of chard ribbons and 2 tablespoons of water. Stir with tongs, flipping the greens over and over until they’re coated with the oil, garlic and water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the greens are wilted and tender, but still bright. Remove the cover, raise the heat slightly, and cook out the remaining water, about 2 minutes longer.
Stir in the vinegar, red pepper, and currants.
Spoon the polenta into bowls. Top with greens.