Friday, October 23, 2009

Swiss chard with Lemon Tilapia and Garlic Parsley Cannellini Beans

I struggled a little to figure out what my first post should be. I wanted the post to be illustrative of the name I've chosen for this blog, 'Curious Eats'. Well, I'll have to get into that a little later in another post. . .For now I think it's only fitting that I post a recipe for Swiss Chard, one of my favorites, on behalf of my mom. My mom, who passed away in 1997, was always trying to get me to eat my vegetables. But I was a teenager! I didn't want to eat vegetables! I wanted something 'good'.

Let me give a little context here. My dad was a vegetable farmer and sold his produce at the Eastside Market in downtown Cleveland. He grew mostly tomatoes but he grew a lot of other things too. In other words, there was ALWAYS a lot of vegetables around. My mom, healthy cooker that she was, incorporated as many of these vegetables in our meals as possible. My dad grew a lot of different kinds of greens: collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, and kale. For some reason these were the only vegetables my mom didn't cook a lot with.

One day she made a wilted Kale dish. It was delicious! I remember saying, 'Mom, this is good! What is it?' She twirled around in her spot to look at me with this incredulous look of disbelief. She said, 'You like that?' and I simply said, 'Yup!' and continued to devour the remaining Kale on the table. I think she never cooked greens because she thought she would be pushing her luck, with getting us to eat vegetables, too far.

Greens! Greens! and more Greens! Please! From then on I've been fanatical about wilted greens of any kind. And, by the way I now love all vegetables! (My mom must have been wise beyond her years:)
To go with dinner, I picked up a beautiful bunch of Swiss Chard at the Farmers Market. With the Wilted Swiss Chard, I made a Lemon Tilapia and wonderfully creamy Garlic Parsley Cannellini Beans. What a wonderful dinner!

Wilted Swiss Chard

1 large bunch of Swiss Chard
3-4 anchovies (depending on size and personal preference)
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 tsp of crushed red pepper
2 tbsp of olive oil

In a sauce pan on medium heat, add all ingredients except for the Swiss Chard. Simmer and stir until the anchovies have melted into the sauce. Add the chard. Stir occasionally, folding the swiss chard over while pulling the garlic-anchovy mix up and through the chard. Cooking time is approximately 5 minutes.

Lemon Tilapia
4 Tilapia fillets
1 Lemon - you'll need the zest from 1 Lemon and the juice from 1/2 the lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Splash of white wine
2 tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and Pepper

Zest the lemon and set the zest aside for later. Cut the lemon in half. Salt and pepper both sides of the tilapia fillets. In a hot skillet, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the tilapia. The tilapia will cook for 5-7 minutes on the first side. A few minutes after adding the fish to the skillet add the juice from 1/2 a lemon and sprinkle the lemon zest over the fish. Cook the fish on the first side until it is mostly opaque. Turn and finish on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Garlic Parsley Cannellini Beans
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp dry white wine
2 clove of garlic
1 can of cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

In a small pot, add olive oil, white wine and garlic. Simmer on low for a few minutes, being careful to not burn the garlic. During this stage, you are infusing the sauce with the garlic flavor. When the garlic is cooked, soft but not brown, add the beans and parsley. Mix to incorporate and simmer for 3 minutes to heat the beans through. Be careful not to over mix unless you want smashed beans as Cannellini beans are pretty delicate.


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