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by on April 20th, 2012

Swiss Chard and the French Markets

Oh how I loved those French markets!

I snapped this picture of Swiss chard one day. A little lady was hand picking her chard probably for her dinner that night.

It is hard for me to imagine (except I was there and saw it) what it would be like to shop daily for your food, to see just picked vegetables and know that they probably still are covered with dew drops and an earthy smell to them. One day we saw the most beautiful turnips, they still had green stems attached and looked just picked from someon’s field.

We live in a world where we get our grocery ads on a Wednesday to see what’s going to be on sale this week at our local market. Just think what it would be like if all we had to do was take a leisurely walk down the street (or up a hill) with our basket over our arm and shop for what we needed for the day; or go to our local bakery and line up with others waiting to buy a baguette for today’s meal (we saw that in Eylgaliers).

I can’t say that I have ever eaten Swiss chard, I have eaten other greens, like kale, turnip greens, spinach, but after seeing this in the market in France, it just made me want to try it. I’m sure chard that is bought at a farmer’s market is much more sweet and buttery tasting than the bunch I purchased at a grocery this week. Who knows how long that has been laying around in their cooler. So, I’m thinking if you have never eaten Swiss chard before maybe your first time should be with some fresh leaves from a local farmer’s market. (This chard I made was really good. I would definitely buy it again.)
Below are a few pictures that I took (I took 1400) at some of the markets and towns and  we went to. We saw wonderful sausages, olives, soaps, all kinds of vegetables, nougat candy, honey, shoes (I bought some for 20€ and wore them four days in a row), fish, meats, anything and everything that one would want to cook up for an evening meal.
Remember when I posted my fougasse bread a while back? I didn’t think I would see it until we got to Provence but it showed up in the market by our apartment in Paris. I was excited to see that mine wasn’t too far off from the way their’s looked.
Remember the French Breakfast Radishes with Baby Carrots I posted. Well, we did see the French breakfast radishes at all the markets and we did buy some and ate them with butter and baguette slices.
Olives, olives, everywhere. We bought some to go with our sausages and cheese one night. Absolutely wonderful.
All the fish looked so fresh and not a hint of a fishy odor.
Oh what beautiful flowers we saw at all the markets and on street corners.  I wish my garden looked half this inviting.
Great sausages and hams. We bought one that had black olives in it.  The man at this table had a meat slicer and we could taste anything that we wanted.
Talk about a big piece of cheese. We purchased a couple of varieties from this lady to go with our sausages and olives one night.
Any kind of fruit you could image showed up at the markets and a few we did not recognize.
Beautiful leeks made me want a bunch to make some potato leek soup.
Look how all the meats are all laid out in buckets.
Honey, honey, honey.  This nice man was explaining the different honeys he sold.  He had acacia, rosemary, lavender, and saffron,
Swiss Chard
1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard
3 small cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. crush red pepper
2 tsp. butter
sea salt (of course from France)
Rinse the chard leaves thoroughly and remove the tough stalks (I save about 2″ from the leaves) and discard stems. Chop the leaves into 1″ strips.
Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil and the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute this for about one minute. Add the Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. Turn the chard over so the cooked leaves are now on top. Cover and check for doneness after 5 minutes more. (I cooked mine another 5-6 minutes after this.)  Add salt to taste, the butter and some freshly ground black pepper.  Remove Swiss chard to a platter and serve.
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