Exactly four months ago we had polenta, flavoured with rosemary, chilli and garlic. Served with a tomato sauce it was simple and delicious. We thought it was about time we had it again. This time served with some fresh chard.
It’s not often we have a starter, but with our asparagus doing so well after the recent rain it seemed logical to get stuck in. By way of a change and because our hens are laying well, we settled on a hollandaise as the buttery sidekick.
We were not disappointed. Asparagus less than an hour out of the ground, fresh eggs and good butter; heaven on a plate.
Back to the polenta. Cooked, flavourings added, cooled in a shallow tin. Tipped out and cut into fingers, dusted with semolina flour and fried in a little oil. Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, rich cheesiness courtesy of some Lincolnshire Poacher. Warmth from the fresh red chilli, the rosemary and garlic providing the finish. Served with the simplest of tomato sauces, chopped tomatoes, garlic and bay-leaf. All simmered on a very low heat for a good hour. Rich and easy to make.
So why is Chard not a mainstream veg? Easy to grow, hardy, tasty and a cut and come again plant that keeps cropping. Not as astringent as spinach but with a very similar earthiness in taste. Ruby Chard looks good in the ornamental border too, its dark green leaves and red stem catch the eye. It baffles me why more people don’t grow it and I have rarely seen it for sale, outside of the farmers markets. Works beautifully with tomato sauce and the cheesy polenta.