Thursday, March 6, 2014

Swiss Chard with Bacon & Eggs

I confess to having a soft spot for a good old “American Breakfast,” eggs, bacon, and home fries with toast and jam! But I seldom have it because it is so hearty and has a bad reputation…something about not being very healthy. Here is my recommended alternative. It makes a tasty breakfast and is also very satisfying as a light dinner. In place of those artery clogging fried potatoes we’re using chard and garnishing the dish with a little Meyer lemon relish. The bacon, lemon and chard are a perfect match for fresh eggs!

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Ingredients                                                                                                    Serves 3-4
1 large bunch of Swiss chard
1-2 eggs per person
4 strips thick, smoky bacon
¼ large yellow onion, diced small
1 pinch pepper flakes
2 slices Meyer lemon, cut into quarters
1 ½ T. extra virgin olive oil

2 slices Meyer lemon, chopped very fine
1 green onion, diced small
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 ½ T. extra virgin olive oil
Dash vinegar
Salt & pepper

To Prepare
Remove stems from chard leaves. Cut leaves into coarse 1 ½ inch squares. Cut stems into half-inch dice. Wash separately and drain. Do not dry them.

Cut bacon strips into half inch pieces and place in a sauté pan over medium high heat until well browned. Drain off fat and set bacon aside on a paper plate. 

Add 2 T. bacon fat to a pan/pot large enough to hold all the chard. Set to medium high heat and add the diced onion. After two minutes add the pepper flakes and fry for 15 seconds or so. Add the chard stems, a generous pinch of salt and cover. After three minutes add the chard leaves and the quartered lemon slices, again adding a couple of big pinches of salt. Cover the pot. After another two minutes stir the mixture well, reduce heat to medium and continue covered cooking for an additional 3-4 minutes. The stems and leaves should be tender. 

Remove lid, raise heat back up to medium high and boil rapidly to allow excess liquid to evaporate. Two to three minutes should do it. It shouldn’t be too juicy. Add the olive oil and set aside uncovered while you prepare eggs. 

While the chard is cooking the garnish can be prepared. Ideally, I like to make it ahead of time so the flavors have time to come together. Place all ingredients into a small ramekin or bowl. Stir well and check for salt and acidity, adding both to taste. 

On heated plates add a generous portion of chard. Top with an egg or two cooked to your liking. Sprinkle bacon all over and then garnish with the Meyer lemon relish. Maybe serve toast and jam for breakfast or a little toast rubbed with garlic for dinner! This dish even goes well with a glass of white wine (for dinner, of course!)

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