Dip of Swiss Chard Stalks and Tahini (Silq bi’l-Tahina)
Makes 6-8 servings
Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetables by Clifford A. Wright (The Harvard Common Press, 2001)
Dip of Swiss Chard Stalks and Tahini is like a fusion of baba ghanoush and hummus; creamy, garlicky, lemony, and rich with tahini. It’s also an ingenious way to use Swiss chard stalks, which are too often thrown away. White chard stalks make prettier dip than red or multi-colored. The original recipe used 6 garlic cloves and 1/2 cup lemon juice. This was too strong for several of my tasters. Best to start with the smaller amount, and add more garlic or lemon juice if needed to suit your palate.
1 pound Swiss chard stalks
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3-6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup tahini, stirred if oil and solids have separated
1/4-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Arabic pita bread, pita chips, crackers, or raw vegetables
Add Swiss chard stalks to large pot of boiling salted water and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Drain stalks and roughly chop them. Place chopped stalks in food processor and puree; scrape down sides of processor to ensure all stalks are pureed.
Use mortar and pestle, or back of knife on cutting board, to mash salt and 3 cloves garlic into a paste. Alternatively, garlic may be grated on classic Microplane grater. Add tahini and mashed garlic/salt to pureed stalks, and pulse processor to combine. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice, and pulse to combine. Dip should be perfectly smooth. If it isn’t, scrape down sides of processor bowl and process again. Taste and add garlic, salt, or lemon juice, as needed. Remove dip from food processor and stir in all but 1 tsp. mint.
Transfer dip to serving bowl or platter and spread out with back of spoon. Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with pine nuts and the remaining 1 tsp. mint. Serve with pita chips, pita bread, crackers, or raw vegetables.