Let me tell you something about squash plants: they grow. They start out as these thick-stemmed, broad-leafed little seedlings, then they grow their secondary leaves and things quickly spiral out of control. Mrs. Culinarian and I installed four little squash plants in our 2.5 x 4 raised bed, along with a couple of lavender stalks and a phalanx of Swiss chard along the front edge. Before a month had passed we had to transplant the lavenders because the squashes were blocking their sunlight.
Then the chard came under threat from the unstoppable gourd blitzkrieg. We lacked the space and the determination to transplant the Swiss chard, so we harvested it all, leaving us with a mountain of Swiss chard that had to be dealt with quickly.
I panicked and suggested we throw it all into the neighbors' yard. Mrs. Culinarian maintained her composure and consulted Joe Yonan's weekly Washington Post food chat. Thus we were directed to this recipe for Spanish-style chard with white beans. Chard, like kale, has a fibrous stem that most people discard after tearing the fleshy leaves off. This preparation grinds those stems up with garlic and almonds as part of the pimentón-spiced paste that sits atop a smear of white beans on a slice of toasted rustic bread.
Already you're winning. And it's vegetarian, which is an area that this blog has, admittedly, been neglectful of. But if you want to add some sort of animal product, poach up an egg and plop that sucker right on top of it all. A perfectly poached egg (which we'll get into another time because it's a drawn out and annoying topic) will spill just the right amount of thickly oozing egg yolk onto your chard-mash toast. It's good. It goes.
And, most importantly, that's how you get rid of a ton of chard.
Recipe after the jump.