Serves: Makes 12 bundles
- 12 large Swiss chard leaves, long stems trimmed
- Coarse salt
- 6 to 8 ounces cold fresh goat cheese, cut into 12
- (¼-inch) rounds or (1½-by-½-inch) rectangles
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup finely chopped olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- ½ cup olivada or finely chopped brine-cured black or green olives
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Procedures:Each of these little cheese-stuffed chard bundles is lightly grilled on a panini pan, or on an outdoor grill if you like. They make a delicious appetizer, snack, or side dish. For a variation, substitute ricotta salata, feta, or a creamy cow’s milk blue-veined cheese for the goat cheese.
Line a rimmed sheet pan or large tray with a kitchen towel. Half fill a 6-quart Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil. If the Swiss chard leaves are very large, add them one at a time; otherwise, add two at a time. Cook for 1 minute, or just until limp, and then carefully lift from the water with a slotted spoon or wire skimmer and place on the towel-lined tray. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
When the leaves are cool enough to handle, place them, rib side up, on a cutting board. Cut along either side of the rib on each leaf and discard the rib (or save for soup or a pasta dish). Overlap the 2 sections of each leaf to make a solid surface. The leaf area needs to be about 3 to 4 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long to accommodate the stuffing. Trim leaves that are larger than that.
Place a piece of the cheese about one-third of the way down from the top of each leaf. Top with a grinding of pepper. Place about ½ tablespoon of each the tomatoes and olivada on top of the cheese. Fold the top of the leaf over the cheese, fold in the sides, and then roll up the leaf to make a tight bundle about 2 inches square. Brush both sides of each bundle generously with olive oil. The bundles can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and cooked just before serving.
Place a panini pan or stove-top grill pan over medium heat until hot enough for a drop of water to sizzle on contact. Arrange the bundles, seam side down, on the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until grill marks appear on the underside. Turn with tongs and grill the other side for 3 to 4 minutes, until grill marks appear. Serve warm.