Chard with Ras el Hanout and Preserved Lemon
Traditionally, Moroccans would cook a hearty green like chard way down to an almost jam-like consistency. In this version, chef Mourad Lahlou takes a more Italian approach, blanching the greens and sautéing the stems. If you don’t have Urfa pepper, substitute red pepper flakes.
- 4 bunches rainbow chard, each 10 oz., preferably with red and
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion (1/8-inch dice)
- 1 Tbs. ras el hanout
- 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
- 1/4 cup diced preserved lemon rind
- 1 1/2 tsp. Urfa pepper or red pepper flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
Cut the stalks off the chard and set the leaves aside. Trim off the bottoms, narrow tops and outer edges of the stalks. Cut enough of the stalks into 3-by-1/8-inch matchsticks to yield 1 1/2 cups. Cut enough of the remaining stalks into 1/16-inch dice to yield 1 cup.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Working in batches, blanch the chard leaves until tender, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer to the ice water and let cool. Remove the leaves from the water, squeeze well to remove the excess liquid and coarsely chop them.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the grapeseed oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the chard matchsticks, ras el hanout and a pinch of salt and cook until the matchsticks begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the diced stalks and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the leaves and cook for 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, preserved lemon and Urfa pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Serves 6.
Adapted from Mourad: New Moroccan, by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan, 2011).