28 June 2013

J'ai récolté mes blettes

Yesterday we had a beautiful sunny day in Saint-Aignan. I decided to go out and harvest ('to harvest' = récolter in French) the swiss chard (blettes) that I planted last fall. The plants had over-wintered in the garden. This wasn't the first time we had harvested leaves from these plants, but it was the last.

The chard plants had bolted, so they were tall and stringy, but they hadn't actually flowered yet. They were covered with tender young leaves, some large ones (toward the bottom of the stalks) and many small ones (toward the top). After pulling the plants out of the ground, I spent several hours pulling the leaves off, washing them in batches, and then cooking them.

I cooked them in chicken broth with just some salt and pepper. We had some for lunch, and I can affirm that they were worth the work. I did half of them in the morning, and then in the afternoon I sat down on the front deck for an hour or so, enjoying the warm weather, and pulled the leaves off the rest of the stalks. I ended up with 2.5 kg of leaves — that's 5½ lbs. Since we cleaned out the freezer earlier this week, there's plenty of room for some of them in there.

To go with the blettes at lunchtime, I made a dish of pommes de terre 'boulangère' — that's thin-sliced potatoes cooked in the oven with herbs and onions, moistened also with broth (chicken or other). They're called « boulangère » or "baker's wife" potatoes because that's the way the baker's wife would have cooked them in days gone by — in the hot bread oven after the day's bread had finished baking. And they are delicious.


  1. In many places customers could deliver their dishes of potatoes or whatever to the boulangerie and they would be cooked in the cooling oven after the bread came out. It was the job of small boys to be sent back to the bakery just before lunchtime to collect the delicious dish. According to one of the old guys in Preuilly this was agonisingly blissful -- you were starving hungry and had to walk home with something that smelled soooooo good.

  2. Yeah, Susan, people didn't have ovens at home. That's why there are communal ovens in many villages. The olden days had their advantages and their disadvantages.

  3. Hence the "four banal" !!
    Your potatoes look wonderful. As delicious as dauphinous without the naughtiness and high guilt factor !!

  4. I'm glad you had a warm summer day.

    I used to feel that when we had good weather here and you didn't, that I was sending it on to you, but the weather connection between east coast US and France seems to have broken.

    It's lovely to have real summer.

  5. Glad you've had some lovely weather! And yummy food!

  6. Your potatoe dish looks really tasty.

    We're experiencing a heatwave on the westcoast. All of a sudden we are supposed to suffer with 90 degrees after having plenty of rain on Monday and Tuesday and cloudy part-sun mid-week. Go figure.

  7. I don't think I've ever had chard, but those potatoes look scrumptious!

  8. Carolyn, Mary, send us some of that hot summer weather. Today it's gray and drizzly again here.

    Starman, I don't know if you look back at comments on earlier posts, but I left you one on yesterday's pointing to an interesting Washington Post op-ed piece on the national implications of the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA. I agree with you that Washington needs to do something, but with the Republicans in control in the House of Representatives, it won't be easy.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?