Swiss chard is a very popular vegetable throughout Italy but particularly in the provinces around Rome. Swiss chard has an unmistakable flavour and texture and is very easy to grow. It also is one of those vegetables which is attractive enough to grow as an ornamental edible in a border. If you really cannot get hold of chard, large cos lettuce leaves are the closest possible alternative.
Pull the dark green chard leaves off their heavy white stalks and put the leaves in a pan with plenty of boiling water. Cook for about 8 minutes. Alternatively, blanch the cos leaves. Drain and dry, then chop very coarsely into wide strips.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the garlic and fry until the garlic is brown, then discard it. Add the anchovies and the tomatoes. Mix and mash these ingredients into the oil, stirring it all together, then add the chard or lettuce. Turn it over in the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Heat through for 5 – 10 minutes, then serve hot.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.