sainted yogurt, salted chard
When yogurt crosses over to the savory side—not merely tangy or as a counterpoint to sweet, interesting things happen. Yesterday afternoon, I stirred a little tahini and a few cloves of minced garlic into Saint Benoît Yogurt (sometimes I crisp chickpeas with cumin and sprinkle them on top when I make this) and spooned it over rainbow chard, drizzling hot oil over the yogurt in a circuitous path.
Looking at the chard pieces that shine like jewels when sautéed, I laughed at precious food labels and had a bit of fun, making the shape of a cross with boquerones as the yogurt sauce spread over the chard like a halo. This yogurt’s consistency differs depending on the season, slightly thinner in the summer months when the ladies drink more water in Sonoma County.
I thought of my friend Holly (you should read her book), who never takes herself too seriously as she covers weighty topics in food politics (she was, at one time, an AP journalist) and creates beautiful, healthy food that she writes about with humor and grace.
My favorite part of this recipe (and the part I think Holly will especially appreciate) is massaging the chard leaves with salt (dice and sauté the chard stems, with carrots if you like, during the leaf massage), feeling the leaves’ bouncy greenness; after a few minutes, rinse off the salt and squeeze out excess water before wilting the leaves in the medium-high pan, where they retain their color. Meanwhile, warm pitas or naan to dip in this meze (lavash is the more correct bread here, but I find naan easier to make or locate).
Though I rarely see Holly to eat together in person, I always feel my kitchen is connected to hers, even as we both travel and cook in new places—