Piatto Mediterraneo, Saltato in Padella
Potato, Swiss Chard, Sun-Dried Tomato, Black Olive and Onion with Crispy Bacon
It's strange but true, that you can not always translate any given word or expression into another language- my case in point is the expression "stir-fry"- you just can't SAY that in Italian... it doesn't make sense! Then again- the expression "saltare" that we use in the old country, to say the same thing- also doesn't make sense it English! The direct translation means "to jump", or to flip your food in the pan- similar to the way the French say "sautée"- which also means the same thing. But whether it is stirred or flipped- this little pan-shaken dish is a delightful Mediterranean take on a typical Asian stir-fry! Let me tell you how I made it...
First off, I decided to par-boil the potatoes and the stalks of the chard, to make sure they would be juicier and also to speed up the cooking time. After boiling the potatoes for 5 minutes, I added the roughly chopped stalks for the following 3-4 minutes until the potatoes were half-done and then drained them and set them to one side... and started figuring out which order to fry the other ingredients...
I started off by cutting 2-3 rashers of bacon into bite-sized pieces and frying them in a dry non-stick pan. The fat that the bacon gives off will be more than enough to fry the other ingredients in and it is the only fat that we will be using for this dish. Once the bacon was crispy, I removed it and set it to one side and began with the potato wedges, the chard stalks and the onion. Whilst they were browning, I pored some boiling water over 2-3 sun-dried tomatoes in order to soften them a little for cooking.
I stirred the potato, onion and chard occasionally for 7-8 minutes, until they began to brown and then added halved black olives and the chard leaves. I seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin seed, Herbs de Provence and a hint of nutmeg. After a further 4-5 minutes, when the leaves became a shiny dark green, I added the now softened tomatoes and a drizzle of the juice they had been soaking in.
Now it was time for a faint hint of balsamic vinegar- just a drop! This heightened the flavors of each individual ingredient and made this quick and easy little meal come to life! I enjoyed it with a slice or two of ciabatta and a glass of pinot grigio... and I'm sure that if you try it... you will too!