Swiss Chard with Pickled Golden Raisins and Pistachios

Greens with nuts and fruit is a common Italian flavor combination. We first came to appreciate this tradition in Sardinia when dining al fresco at a charming little restaurant perched on top of a hill in the Old Town section of Alghero, sipping a simple Canaiolo (what locals call Grenache). Our most captivating food memory that evening was the plate of grilled vegetables, drizzled with a sweet-sour-salty punch of aged balsamic and pistachios. This dish captures the elements I loved most in that dish. By pickling the golden raisins, we temper their sweetness while adding a new dimension of bright acid to the greens.

Swiss Chard with Pickled Golden Raisins and Pistachios

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    1 cup rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons canola oil
    1/4 cup golden raisins 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    1 1/2 sugar 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons roughly chopped pistachios
    2 bunches Swiss chard, large center stalks removed, leaves chopped (about 1 pound)


    Prep: 10 min Total:
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    • 1

      Combine the vinegar, raisins, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.  

    • 2

      Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and prepare an ice bath. Add the chard to the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain the chard, shock in the ice bath for 5 minutes, then drain thoroughly.  

    • 3

      Heat the canola oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. As it begins to ripple, add the garlic and cook until brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chard, pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook until the chard wilts, 5 to 7 minutes.  

    • 4

      Transfer the chard to a serving dish. Drain the raisins from their pickling liquid. Garnish the chard with the raisins and pistachios, then serve.


    Tip: Spanning Tuscany to Sicily, here is a menu that will please everyone. Tell your guests you are serving Italian, and enjoy as they’re blown away by the unique flavors in this dish, along with Nebrodini Mushrooms as Fazzoletti (page 87), and Eggplant Braciole (page 159), served with Gavi, an Italian white wine from Piedmont. Our current favorite comes from Cascina degli Ulivi. Enjoy a glass before bringing out the Caramel Panna Cotta with Red Raspberries and Tarragon (page 183) which also comes from the Piedmont region of Italy.

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