During lockdown we are all ordering home delivered veg boxes, or maybe even growing our own and there is nothing more satisfying than seasonal veggies dishes that deliver a food hug full of comfort. Verónica Luque Pérez, Inquisitive Gastronomer, proud Basque, Adopted Scot, food grower and beloved friend of LeftField takes us back to her childhood food memories with this gorgeous recipe.
I still can see my granny working quietly between the woodstove and the marble basin: cleaning the fresh chard that my grandad has just harvested for our lunch. She cleans the fresh green leaves with the chilled water from our river to remove the soil. I can see how alive the chard is when she chops them, it sounds like they are crying. My mouth waters when I hear how she crushes the potatoes before putting them into the water. And I get hungry when I smell the sweet garlic shimmering in the olive oil over the woodstove. I can taste it!!
All these senses tossed together in my memory are comforting me, they feed my soul. They are making a simple recipe the best of my food choices.
Guess which was the first crop I grew when came to Scotland? Potatoes and swiss chard. I wanted to bring back that feeling of being cared for my family, being nourished and the sense of identity. I didn’t want to forget who I am and where I come from.
Because “Sharing is Caring”, I would like to share with you this recipe. I am going to imagine you all, sitting around my granny’s big table, and me serving you. Because this is at the moment my sweetest dream as a cook/server of the hospitality industry.
SWISS CHARD “BASQUE WAY”
1 bunch of Swiss chard
4 beautiful peeled potatoes
4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
Flour and egg to coat
Olive oil for frying
A pinch of salt
Break the potatoes into large pieces.
Separate the chard stalks from the green leaves.
Clean strings of the stalks and break them into pieces of 8 cm long.
Clean the green leaves in water and cut them with a knife into long strips.
Put potatoes + stalks + season and cook 20 minutes. over low heat.
Drain, keeping a little cooking broth.
Pass the stalk in flour and egg, coat them and fry them.
Drain them from the olive oil and set aside.
In the other frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil + sliced garlic. When the garlic comes golden, add the green leaves.
Sauté, add the cooked potato + cooking broth.
Place potato + sautéed chard greens in a bowl.
Cover with the battered chard stalks
I leave this up to Rachel!
Rachel's note: Staying in the Basque region it's got to be a Txakoli from a small winery located in the heart (Gernika) of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve - Bodegas Itsasmendi Txacoli Artizar A wine that Phil and I were introduced to on a trip to Bilbao it's delicate citrus, mineral and with good acidity, highly recommend!
AND BEFORE YOU START YOUR MEAL
Imagine I say to you in the Basque language, with a sweet smile:
“On Egin” which means “que aproveche” in Spanish.