9.05.2012

last bits of summer


I strive to live a balanced life. I'm the first to admit that food is my biggest weakness and there are times in life where I get a bit too carried away with the not-so-healthy-eating *cough - this weekend - cough*. But I'm going to be honest with you, most of the time health food just isn't that filling or satisfying! I'm constantly on the lookout for new and healthy recipes that leave me satiated AND satisfied! 

This dish was made for me by my amazing Aunt Aynne. She's had a lot of awesome produce come out of her garden this year. I went by for lunch a few weeks back and I definitely benefitted from it. While this by itself was more of a hearty snack for me, add a grilled chicken breast and a small slice of whole wheat bread and you've got a healthy and satisfying dinner that's quick and easy! Plus the leftovers are great for lunch.

The photos don't really do this dish justice. Sweet summer corn mixed with warm, earthy and tough leaves of swiss chard accented by crisp salty pancetta topped with fresh bursts of tomato and creamy feta cheese make this a huge win in my book! It's great as a side dish or if you have a normal to small appetite as your main entrĂ©e. Take advantage of the last few weeks of summer produce and make this, now! 
Warm Summer Corn + Chard Salad
adapted from Penzyes spices
yields 4 servings

ingredients:
1 large bunch of swiss chard (about 6 leaves)
4 oz diced pancetta
4 garlic cloves. diced
2 shallots, thinly sliced 
4 ears of corn (about 2 cups kernels)
1 t. dried oregano
3 T. red wine vinegar
2 medium sized tomatoes (about 1 heaping cup diced)
feta cheese crumbles, to taste
salt + pepper

Remove the chard leaves from stems. Cut the ends off the stems and then dice stems and set aside. Cut leaves into large chunks and also set aside. 

In a large pan over medium heat cook and brown pancetta. Once golden brown, remove and drain on a paper towel. Add thinly sliced shallots and chopped swiss chard stems and cook until shallots are slightly transparent. Add garlic. corn kernels and oregano and cook for about 2 minutes. Add Chard leaves and vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes until wilted. Add in pancetta bits and salt + pepper to taste.

Place warm mixture into bowls and top with fresh diced tomatoes and feta cheese. Enjoy!

improv style:
there's lots of ways to switch this dish up. you can make it vegetarian by leaving out the pancetta or substitute it for bacon (turkey bacon is another option), prosciutto or even canadian bacon. no shallots? use onions instead. corn out of season? you can do this in the winter or fall with frozen corn - note that fresh is always better and more flavorful!

red wine vinegar can be substituted for white wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, or even a little splash of dry white wine. feta cheese can be subbed for your favorite cheese crumbles. just make sure it's a dryer crumbly cheese, not something like melty brie.

you can also make this more hearty by adding cooked quinoa, wheat berries, bulgar, brown rice... you get the idea.  



2 comments:

  1. gorgeous photos of gorgeous vegetables! When I was reading your improv suggestions, I was waiting for you to tell us to pour beaten eggs over it and bake it up like a ... crustless quiche or a frittata! Yes? Maybe leave the vinegar out for that. But I love the combination of ingredients here. The corn is such a treat.

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    1. such a great idea gail! thanks for sharing your improv suggestion!!

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