Italians seem to eat a lot of different greens, and whether it be bietole (swiss chard), ciccoria (chicory or dandelions), or rapini, my favorite way to cook them is to first blanch them in boiling water, then to drain them and toss them in a hot pan with sizzling minced garlic and hot red pepper flakes. On a recent trip to the market in Perugia I went a little overboard buying two kilograms each of both rapini and bietole. Both looked so fresh and green I simply could not resist. I cooked the bietole first in the manner described below, and from the large bowl of sauteed greens I prepared we made a frittata, a light healthy soup, enjoyed them in a piadini sandwich with prosciutto, and served them as a vegetable side dish with roasted sausages and potatoes. If I have some sauteed greens in my refrigerator, one of my favorite ways to reheat and enjoy them is to spread them out into a baking dish and sprinkle them with grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. I then heat them in a moderate oven and serve as a tasty side dish.
My Glorious Bunch Of Fresh Bietole!
Deborah Mele 2011
Bietole al Saltate
“Al Saltate” is the easiest way to saute greens.
- 2 Pounds Of Bietole (Swiss Chard)
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 to 3 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- Clean the bietole by washing first, ensuring all dirt and sand have been removed.
- Cut off and remove any brown area on the stems.
- Cut the bietole into 1 inch strips, including the stems.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then drop in the bietole.
- Cook just a minute or two or until the stem pieces are tender.
- Drain, squeezing as much water out as you can.
- In the same pot add the oil and garlic.
- Season with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook just until the garlic is sizzling.
- Add the drained bietole to the pot and toss it in the seasoned oil cooking an additional couple of minutes stirring continuously.
- Allow to come to room temperature and serve.