Taste the rainbow (chard, that is…)
By Gabrielle Devenish
July 13, 2010
Tap, tap, tap. The noise was faint between the gales of the rainstorm outside, the hum of the fan and the water I was running for a sinkful of dishes.
Tap, tap. There it was again, like the hammer of an elfin cobbler. Then a small voice, “Gabrielle, Gabrielle!”
I opened my door to reveal the next-door neighbor boy, Cian. The 3-year-old stood pointing to the sky excitedly, wind tussling his blond hair.
“Come see the rainbow!” he cried, leading me outside into the spattering rain. He pointed out the broad rainbow emerging between the parting clouds, and proceeded to tell me all the colors he saw.
“Colors are cool! They make boring rain pretty!” he exclaimed.
Later, thinking back on this, I found it very ironic, perhaps serendipitous, that I had just found that same principle after I had made a “boring” grilled chicken dinner “pretty” (and yummy) by featuring color.
My farmer’s market haul this week (actually, I only purchased a few select items) included a giant, brightly colored bunch of rainbow chard from my favorite farmer, Raymond. The rainy day was the perfect excuse to cook the greens, and I had on a whim purchased a Meyer lemon. It was the perfect complement to retain the colors of the leaves and stems, as well as add lovely acid balance to bring out the full taste.
But all I had meat-wise was a boneless breast of chicken (I wasn’t about to make a trip to the store in the rain), and besides, I didn’t want to take away from the perfect chard I was planning.
I ended up making a garlicky grilled chicken breast atop the steamed chard, which I infused with Meyer lemon and garlic, topped with a light lemony garlic butter sauce. I garnished the dish with lemon zest and thinly sliced blanched garlic.
The “boring” grilled chicken was the perfect pale background to the bright green, fuschia and yellow of the lemon-infused chard, and allowed the chard to steal the show on the plate.
Yes, from the mouths of babes. Colors make “boring” into “pretty”, in the sky and in the kitchen.