If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only have three foodstuffs to take with me, they would be dark chocolate, red wine, and (most importantly) cheese. So when it comes to lackluster meals, my go-to fix is simply to add one of those three. The pan’s too dry and dinner’s about to burn? Oh, a little red wine will help that. Some for the pan, some for the cook. Finished dinner but still a little hungry for something more? A handful of chocolate chips will solve that real quick. And staring at some vegetable you’re not particularly jazzed about eating for the fifth time this week because your garden won’t stop growing it? Add copious amounts of cheese, and you’ll be good to go. Which is precisely what my mother decided to do when she’d had enough of Swiss chard. This particular green tends to grow extraordinarly well in Texas, and year-round to boot; and since the rest of the garden seems to be in some kind of a seasonal limbo, she’s had to get creative with the chard. That’s when she decided to boil it, add crushed red pepper flakes, and then (hey, why not?) the aforementioned copious amounts of cheese. Shredded sharp cheddar, to be exact. The result? A healthy and extremely cheesy way to get your greens. A word to the wise: do not, I repeat, do not overcook the chard. Boil it just until it’s wilted, and then drain it. Overcooked chard has a very strange mouthfeel that takes all the fun out of this dish. Spicy Cheesy Chard 1 bunch of Swiss chard Crushed red pepper flakes to taste 1 – 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar Salt and pepper to taste Trim the leaves of the chard from their tough stems. If desired, dice the stems and saute before continuing (alternately, you can compost the stems). Bring about 3 quarts of salted water to a rolling boil and add the chard. Boil just until wilted. Drain the chard, then add salt and pepper to taste. Add crushed red pepper flakes for as much spice as you can handle. Generously top with shredded cheese and serve immediately. *One large bunch of chard will make about four servings.
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