Baked Chard Stems (Coste di Bietola al Forno)


Using chard for the filling of the ravioli alla genovese meant I had leftover chard stems. I thought what a home cook from Genoa would do with leftover chard stems, and that is how I came up with this contorno (side dish) of baked chard stems. To add some flavor and texture, I topped the chard stems with breadcrumbs flavored by anchovies, garlic, and marjoram. This is a very tasty way to prepare chard stems, that is lighter than a gratin with cheese. I served these as a side dish for the secondo piatto of veal from the sugo di carne alla genovese.


The photo has parsley instead of marjoram and no anchovies, that’s what happens if you make up dishes as you go…

For 2 to 4 servings as a side dish

500 grams (1.1 lbs) chard stems

70 grams (1/2 cup) dry breadcrumbs

60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp minced fresh marjoram

1 Tbsp minced anchovy fillets

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and freshly ground black pepper



Wash the chard stems and trim the ends. Cut them in half lengthwise and then in 5 cm (2″) pieces, or whatever shape you like.


Parboil the chard stems in salted water for 10 minutes, then plunge in cold water to stop the cooking, or vacuum seal them…


…and cook sous-vide for 45 minutes at 84C/183F. Cooking them sous-vide ensures they hold their flavor and shape better.

In any case, the chard stems should be tender but still firm to the bite.


Pat the chard stems dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.


In a bowl, combine 70 grams of breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon minced anchovy, 2 tablespoons minced marjoram, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.


Stir to mix, then add 60 ml of extra virgin olive oil…


…and mix again until the mixture looks homogeneous.


Arrange the chard stems on a baking sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper) in a single layer, and spread out the breadcrumb mixture on top.


Bake at 200C/400F until the breadcrumbs are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve at once.



These clam cakes or clam fritters are crispy and golden brown on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside with an elegant taste of the sea.


16 thoughts on “Baked Chard Stems (Coste di Bietola al Forno)

  1. I seem to use a lot of ‘green leafy stuff’ with thick and uninteresting stems: what a good idea since mine usually get boringly sliced and stirfried!! Like the anchovy and marjoram together . . . shall steam and then bake – looking forwards to it!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m with Eha. My stems are destined for a frypan. How lackluster can I get? For my tastes. what makes your preparation a winner, Stefan, is your use of anchovies in the bread crumbs. Much like bacon, anchovies make everything better. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Benvenuto in Liguria! Vedo che hai assimilato perfettamente le regole di cucina di una terra povera di ingredienti, ma ricca di sapori e profumi. Grazie, se sei d’accordo la inserisco nel mio progetto antispreco

    Liked by 2 people

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