Recipes

Mar 19, 2014 7:44 PM by Jennifer English

Maple-balsamic ham with Swiss chard and peas

Here is my recipe for the first day of spring from cookbook author Susie Ward.

Talk about colorful! This dish is a visual feast, and it tastes pretty swell, too. The sweet and tart combo of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar takes the slightly mineraly edge off Swiss chard, and adding ham and fresh peas makes a serendipitous side dish even greens-avoiders will like. My chard is knee-high in the garden by the time the peas are ready to harvest, so the two are naturals together.

Serves 3 or 4

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
11⁄2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
11⁄2 teaspoons fresh
lemon juice
3⁄4 cup fresh peas (from about
1 pound peas in the pod)
1 bunch (12 to 14 ounces) Bright Lights or Rainbow
Swiss chard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
3 slices thinly sliced honey ham (I like Applegate), cut
into narrow 3⁄4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced
fresh ginger

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Put the peas in a small bowl with a tablespoon of water and microwave, covered, on high for 10 to 20 seconds, or until just tender. Drain.

Pull or cut away the stems from the chard leaves. Rinse and dry the stems, slice them thinly (1⁄4 inch thick) crosswise, and reserve. Cut or rip the leaves into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces and wash and dry them well.

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems are slightly shrunken, about 5 minutes. (You will hear them crackle as the water begins to evaporate.) Add the ham and 1⁄2 tablespoon of the butter and cook, stirring, until both the chard stems and the ham pieces are shrunken and beginning to brown lightly, about another 4 minutes. Add the fresh ginger, stir, and cook just until fragrant, a few seconds. Add all of the chard leaves and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Using tongs, gently toss and fold the chard leaves until just wilted and well mixed with the other ingredients, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the peas and stir well. Scrape the maple mixture into the pan, stir, and remove from the heat. Add the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon butter and toss and stir until it is melted. Taste for salt. Transfer to a serving platter or plates and eat hot or warm.

Enjoy!

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