Add nutritious silverbeet to your shopping list for July.
Silverbeet is a close relative of spinach and beetroot. It can sometimes be confused with English spinach, however silverbeet has bigger, dark green leaves, thick white stems and white veins as opposed to green. Also known as ‘Swiss Chard,’ the variety with red stalks and green leaves can also be sold as ‘Ruby Chard’. Both the leaves and the stems can be used in cooking and the leaves have quite a strong flavour.
Look for silverbeet with fresh-looking, dark-green and glossy leaves and crisp stems. Avoid those that have scarred or wilted leaves.
Store silverbeet in the crisper of your fridge for 2–3 days. You can try cutting the stems from the leaves, and storing separately in plastic.
Always wash silverbeet thoroughly before use. Trim and remove stems, then slice leaves. It’s great in stir-fries, soups, quiches, pies, for pureeing, or to steam and enjoy on its own as a side dish.
3 way with silverbeet
Try creamed silverbeet: Spray a pan with oil and cook 2 cloves crushed garlic over medium-high heat. Add 1 large bunch silverbeet, stalks sliced and leaves shredded. Toss for 3–4 minutes, until wilted and bright green. Add 1/4 cup light cream and a pinch of nutmeg, and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
Make a yummy pie: Trim and shred 2 bunches silverbeet. Steam for 2–3 minutes, then squeeze out excess moisture. Combine silverbeet with 1 thinly sliced brown onion, 200g extra-light ricotta, a handful of toasted pine nuts, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and a pinch of nutmeg. Line a baking dish with two sheets filo pastry. Add silverbeet filling and cover with 2 more sheets filo pastry and fold edges in to close. Brush with milk, then bake for 20 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
Enjoy this hearty soup: Pan-fry 300g chicken breast until cooked through then remove from pan and thinly slice. Spray a large saucepan with oil, add 1 sliced baby fennel, 1 sliced brown onion and 2 cloves crushed garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 x 400g cans no-added-salt diced tomatoes and 2 cups water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until thickened. Add cooked chicken to pan with a bunch of shredded silverbeet and cook for 2–3 more minutes.