I mentioned in my newsletter (please sign up here if you haven’t already) that I would be collaborating with Eat FRESH, bringing you a series of recipes that I made using Eat FRESH’s delicious, organic produce. If you haven’t heard of Eat FRESH, it is a fresh organic fruit and vegetable delivery service that works closely with local organic farms to provide amazing seasonal produce. You order your veggies online (you can choose either a 3kg or 6kg bag of whatever’s in season, or choose a la carte), and they’ll be delivered straight to your door within a couple of days. Here is the first of four recipes I’ll be posting that I made using Eat FRESH’s lovely organic veggies.
I have never before cooked a recipe using chard. In fact, when a recent delivery from Eat FRESH arrived, I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even recognise this multi-coloured, giant leafy vegetable as chard; I didn’t know what it was, let alone how to cook with it! Upon further inspection, I realised it was rainbow chard and that there were hundreds of different recipes I could make with it. My friend Google led me to an interesting recipe by Martha Stewart for Sausage, Lemon and Chard Lasagne. I fiddled around with it, made it my own and, despite some self-doubting and a promise to quickly run across the road and get a takeaway if it resulted in disaster, I was quite proud of the result.
This is an unusual recipe, yet a good one, as the layer of lemons gives it a refreshing twist. Chard is also incredibly good for you, especially when it comes from Eat FRESH’s organic farm, so this would also make a great recipe to disguise some goodness for a nutritious and delicious kid’s meal. It can also be done with spinach (also currently in season at Eat FRESH), or, if you’re feeling the need to be super healthy, why not try it with spinach and chard!
Make sure you slice the lemons super duper thinly and boil for the right amount of time, as otherwise they can taste a little bitter.
Serves approximately 6 people
3 tbsp butter
¼ cup plain flour
3 cups whole milk
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
5 cups coarsely chopped organic chard from Eat FRESH (can be Swiss or Rainbow, or even spinach)
500g Italian sausages, casings removed (about 4-6 sausages)
A large handful of organic cherry tomatoes from Eat FRESH, cut into quarters
1 tsp dry oregano
1-2 lemons, very thinly sliced (you’ll only need 1 but I messed up with the slicing, so have 2 at the ready, just in case)
Salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a high heat. Stir in the flour, cook for 2 minutes, and then whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil whilst stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for one minute, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It should now be relatively thick and smooth.
2. Remove from the heat and whisk in ¾ of the Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chard until it is incorporated into the sauce.
3.Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Cook the sausage, cherry tomatoes and oregano in a frying pan over a high heat, breaking the sausage up into pieces, for around 5 minutes.
4. Put the lemon slices in a saucepan and cover with 3 inches of cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 5 minutes, more if you’re patient! Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and gently dry on paper towels.
5.Spread a layer of sauce at the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets (if they don’t reach the edges, break a sheet into smaller pieces and make it like a jigsaw puzzle until the surface is covered). Top with half the sausage and tomato mixture and another layer of sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, lasagne sheets and then the remaining sauce and lemons.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
7. Uncover, top with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan and a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper. Put under the grill for 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbling.
8. Remove from the oven and leave to set for 5-10 minutes before serving.