Warm Chard Salad with Bacon-Clementine Vinaigrette
Chard is the best thing I’ve ever planted in my garden. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – I planted a few seeds in the spring, and here we are in November still eating it. It’s easy and quick to grow and looks lush and gorgeous in your yard. So if you’re like me and haven’t been blessed with the greenest of thumbs, this vegetable will make you feel like a brilliant and successful farmer.
However, you will find yourself lousy with the leafy green, and will be forced to find creative ways to feed it to your family. It’s a wonderful substitute for collards in a big bowl of braised southern greens. I’ve steamed it, sautéed it, and chopped it up and added it to soup. But in an effort to enjoy the freshness of the chard, I wanted a preparation that didn’t cook the life out of it. Enter the wilted salad, that delicious and warming cold-weather version of a green salad.
This dish is some kind of wonderful. The juice of bright seasonal clementines is reduced into a warm citrus and bacon vinaigrette. Stirred up with sweet caramelized shallots, toasty pecans, and tangy goat cheese, this swiss chard is taking on some serious flavor.
I like to cut my greens into a chiffonade, because it’s fast and effective. You just roll the leaves up like little cigars and slice away. It creates long ribbons of chard that you can eat like noodles, twisting them around your fork.
When you trim your chard, set those stems aside for another use. They’re so tasty, and even better for you than the leaves. You can use them in place of celery for various recipes, or just sauté in olive oil with salt and pepper. So good.
Why is it good for you?
Chard is an embarrassment of nutritional riches. It’s high in minerals and vitamins (especially K and A) as well as antioxidants and other phytonutrients. Chard supports bone and heart health, protects your vision, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Clementines, like all citrus, are also very nutrient-dense and cancer-fighting heavyweights. And when paired with chard, they’ll provide enough vitamin C to help stave off those seasonal colds.
Pecans are rich in oleic acids, the same healthy fats found in olive oil. They’re also high in protein, fiber, and cholesterol-improving niacin.
Is bacon good for you? No, bacon is not good for you. But this recipe only includes one slice per serving, so who cares? Everything in moderation.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 large bunches of swiss chard (about 20 oz.)
- 4 clementines, juiced
- 3 clementines, peeled, segmented and cut in half
- 1/2 tsp. honey
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/3 c pecans, toasted
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Heat a large skillet on medium-low and add bacon. Cook until browned and crisp, turning once (about 10 minutes). Set aside.
- Remove bacon drippings from pan, reserving 2 Tbsp.
- Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan and reduce heat to low.
- Add shallots to pan and cook, stirring often, until brown and tender (15-20 min).
- While shallots cook, cut chard into a chiffonade: remove stems and center vein. Stack leaves on top of one another and roll up like a cigar. Slice the roll in thin strips and place in a large bowl.
- When shallots are finished, remove from pan and add to bowl with chard, tossing to combine.
- To the hot skillet, add clementine juice and honey and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 1 minute.
- Add vinegar and reserved bacon fat to skillet, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
- Add chard and shallots to the pan and cook until chard is just wilted, about 1 minute.
- Return contents of skillet to the bowl. Top with toasted pecans, goat cheese, clementine segments, and additional cracked black pepper.