scarlet chard and lemon mozzarella bruschetta

ever since i made that amazing tomato and mozzarella salad, with the mozzarella rolled in parmesan, black pepper and lemon zest, i’ve been thinking about other, more autumnal, ways to eat the cheese in this way.

bruschetta is a much-loved starter and when i picked up a beautiful bunch of scarlet-stemmed chard the other week i was reminded of a bruschetta we ate in siena, which was topped with cavolo nero and black-eyed beans. so, my decision was leaves on toast, with cheese in place of the beans!

i’d never cooked chard before and found a useful piece of advice from skye gyngell – whatever dish you are making, chard is always prepared in the same way (see below for details). i dressed the cooked chard with olive oil, seasoned it and then piled this on garlic-rubbed toasted ciabatta. the mozzarella (a beautifully soft fresh buffalo version) was prepared as described above and placed on top. a drizzle of olive oil finished it off.

the combination of flavours works well – the chard had an earthy almost beetroot flavour which was lifted by the creamy mozzarella, the salty parmesan and fresh zingy lemon. the basic idea would work well with other winter leaves too – i fancy having a go with cavolo nero.

how to cook chard the skye gyngell way

for all dishes, chard should be handled and cooked in the same way. once cooked, it can be eaten on its own either warm or cold or tossed through stews and slow-cooked dishes right at the end.

to prepare, place a large pot of well-salted water on to boil. wash the chard well under running water. shake off the excess water then separate the leaves from the stalks by running a sharp knife down both sides of the spine of the vegetable. now slice the stalks into one-inch pieces; once the water has boiled, add the stalks and cook for 3-4 minutes. the stalks should be tender. remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. now add the leaves and cook for no longer than a minute. drain and toss with the stalks. season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.