I've just blogged about the geranium/pelargonium as an under rated flower and now I'm turning my attention to a highly underrated vegetable - silverbeet.
It's now trendy to call it Swiss Chard or Rainbow Chard - sorry, it's silverbeet. As a kid I dreaded it being dished up on my plate with the obligatory meat, potato and other two veg. (Sorry Mum, you were actually a spectacular cook other than this).
Silverbeet was soggy and left a dribble of water on your plate that was just not right. Mum graduated to steaming it and adding a bit of vinegar (!?) and topping it with cheese. This was slightly better but still dribbled.
I know it's full of vitamins and is a good source of fibre so I have over the years scoured cookbooks and the internet and found some amazing recipes to use this wonderful vegetable.
It's brilliant in most things you use spinach for. My daughter-in-law makes an amazing Greek spanakopita with silverbeet, it goes well in muffins, perfect in quiche and delicious in an omelette.
I think the most important thing I have found is getting rid of the excess water before you do anything with it. To do this I steam or boil it in a minimal amount of water and then drain it in a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible. It takes quite a few leaves to get a reasonable amount of vegetable but it is worth it.
Our favourite way to eat it is, once you have squeezed out all of the water, is to stir fry it with garlic and chilli flakes in a small amount of light oil. So yum.
Two other things.
- rinse it carefully, I sometimes soak for a while in salted water, because the bugs can hide in it really well
- Don't discard all the white stalk - apparently there is a lot of goodness in those
Silverbeet is easy to grow, it will grow all year round in most areas and it doesn't have many enemies either fungal or insect wise. An all round winner.