We were in a hurry to eat dinner and so the photo above is sadly blurry; we think it adds a touch of mystery to what is actually a very sturdy and nourishing fall salad. Chard has a reputation for leathery toughness, but really fresh rainbow chard is tender enough for a delicious salad when shaved thin and tossed with just the right dressing.
Chard's slight bitterness needs a little sweetness, so we shook up a dressing with orange juice, red wine, olive oil, and a touch of brown sugar and tossed it all with raisins and roasted walnuts, fresh from the oven. The warmth from the walnuts wilts the salad just enough, and the sweet, bitter, and toasty blend into a salad that delighted us with its fall colors and warm tastes.
Rainbow Chard Salad with Raisins and Walnuts
About half a large bunch of rainbow chard 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine 1/4 cup orange juice 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1/2 cup raisins 3/4 cup walnuts Salt and pepper 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
Wash the chard well and let dry. Fold the leaves in half and slice away the tough stalk. Discard or compost. Cut the leaves in half, lengthwise, then slice into fine ribbons. You should have about 4-6 cups of finely sliced chard.
Put the walnuts in a small, heavy frying pan over medium heat and toast for about five minutes, shaking to keep them from burning. Add the raisins to the pan right at the end just to warm them through.
Whisk the sugar, olive oil, wine, and orange juice together and taste. Adjust to taste and add salt and pepper.
Toss the raisins, hot walnuts, chard and dressing all together. Distribute among individual salad bowls and sprinkle Parmesan on top.