A Great Recipe for Enjoying the Abundance of Summer Swiss Chard! 

In this recipe the ‘bite’ or leafy sharp quality of the chard truly complements the seafood flavor of the briny Gulf Shrimp. If I ever opened a crab-shack cafe at the shore, this is definitely one of the dishes I’ll put on my menu! 

1/2 cup chopped onion, shallot, or scallion
1/2 cup olive oil and/or butter
salt and black pepper to taste

Start with sautéing some shallots or onion (about 1/2 cup chopped) in Olive Oil or Butter (1/4 cup fat in all). 

1 chopped fresh sweet pepper
1 bunch of fresh Chard (could be any color or combination of colors)

Add some chopped bell pepper or ancho pepper to taste – I used one smallish poblano from the garden. Also add the stems of the Chard, chopped like celery. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

About 4-5 slices of bacon (This is optional, but really adds a smokiness and earthiness to this dish.) 

In the meantime, slice the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces. Then saute the bacon in a separate pan. Let it get crispy. Pour into a strainer over a pyrex. Spread bacon pieces out on a paper towel. Reserve fat. 

And start a pot of water to boil for some pastas. I used the Radiatore Organic Pasta from Shoprite. It is really lovely. It has gluten, but the wheat is organically raised. 

You can use any shape of pasta – just cook it according to the directions. Because this recipe will have a looser-styled sauce, I like to use a pasta with some extra nooks and crannies to hold it.

When the pastas are ready, slightly al dente, drain them and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Once the onions, pepper, chard stems are soft, add the shrimp. I used about 1 pound of medium-sized Gulf shrimp. It is important to use wild-caught shrimp for this recipe. Wild shrimp have a deeper seafood flavor than the dirty farm-raised shrimp. 

Coarsely chop the chard leaves. And add them to the pan just as the shrimp start to turn pink. Add some extra salt and pepper now too.

Once the green have cooked down and the shrimp are fully cooked. This takes minutes! Add the pasta to the pan and toss with the other ingredients. Add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the pasta water, about 3 tbsp of the reserved bacon fat, and a dollop of heavy cream (optional but really is wonderful). You want a sauce that moves fluidly yet is tasty. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. 

Finally add the bacon, give it a final stir and enjoy! 

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