Swiss Chard and Fresh Peas with Ham and Maple-Balsamic Sauce

from: Fresh from the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories by Susie Middleton

You might remember Susie Middleton from a demo she did at our market a couple of years ago. She just sent us this recipe from her new book. Here’s what she has to say about the recipe:

“Talk about colorful! This dish is a visual feast, and it tastes pretty swell, too. The sweet and tart combo of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar takes the slightly mineraly edge off Swiss chard, and adding ham and fresh peas makes a serendipitous side dish even greens-avoiders will like. My chard is knee-high in the garden by the time the peas are ready to harvest, so the two are naturals together.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 tblsp pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh peas (from about 1 pound peas in the pod)
  • 1 bunch (12 to 14 ounces) Bright Lights or Rainbow Swiss chard
  • 1 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 slices thinly sliced honey ham (I like Applegate), cut into narrow 3⁄4-inch pieces
  • 1 tblsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Put the peas in a small bowl with a tablespoon of water and microwave, covered, on high for 10 to 20 seconds, or until just tender. Drain.

Pull or cut away the stems from the chard leaves. Rinse and dry the stems, slice them thinly (1⁄4 inch thick) crosswise, and reserve. Cut or rip the leaves into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces and wash and dry them well.

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems are slightly shrunken, about 5 minutes. (You will hear them crackle as the water begins to evaporate.) Add the ham and 1⁄2 tablespoon of the butter and cook, stirring, until both the chard stems and the ham pieces are shrunken and beginning to brown lightly, about another 4 minutes. Add the fresh ginger, stir, and cook just until fragrant, a few seconds. Add all of the chard leaves and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Using tongs, gently toss and fold the chard leaves until just wilted and well mixed with the other ingredients, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peas and stir well. Scrape the maple mixture into the pan, stir, and remove from the heat. Add the remaining1⁄2 tablespoon butter and toss and stir until it is melted. Taste for salt. Transfer to a serving platter or plates and eat hot or warm.

Serves 3 or 4.

You can follow Susie on Facebook at Susie Middleton Cooks, on Pinterest, or www.sixburnersue.com.