Here's how Italians cook full-flavored greens - steaming them briefly to wilt them, then warming them through with garlic.  You can use olive oil if you like, but I prefer the nutty taste of butter here.


If the chard ribs are fresh-looking and unblemished, save them and use them the next day.


Serves 4:


        1 1/2 pounds chard

        3 tablespoons butter

        2 cloves garlic, minced

        Salt and freshly ground black pepper

        Parmesan cheese


1.    Wash the chard well and drain it, but do not pat it dry.  Trim away the ribs.

2.    Put the leaves in a large pot with just the water clinging to them.  Cover the pot and set it of moderate heat.  Steam just until the leaves wilt, about 3 to 5 minutes; uncover the pot once or twice during cooking and toss the leaves with tongs to make sure they wilt evenly.  Cool the leaves in a colander under cold running water to stop the cooking.  When cool, squeeze the leaves between your palms to release excess moisture.  Chop coarsely.


3.    Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderately low heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the chard and salt and pepper to taste (remember that you will also be adding Parmesan, which is salty!)  Toss to coat the leaves with butter and cook until heated through.  Transfer to a warm serving bowl or platter.  Grate Parmesan thickly over the surface.