Whistle Pig Heist | Swiss Chard Salad

kale skeletons alongside untouched swiss chard

 The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.Robert Louis Stevenson

“What say?” I said.

“A whistle pig,” said Dalton, “I believe that is what we have here.”

Ah yes, the whistle pig, related to the bull mouse of yore. My father could kick it with the yarn about the mouse with horns who led the infantry of occasional home invaders.

Almost 50 years later, I’m not so easy.

“Whistle pigs are herbivores,” Dalton continued. Ever the problem solver, he had taken to researching the desiccation of my last lush head of romaine lettuce which on that very morning, I treasured before hitting the road.

We looked askance at the evidence. A green pole was all that was left. Defenselessly picked slick and shinning springtime green, it waved in the air.

The next day my kale was history.

Hackles up, I could feel Miz Vulnerable gaining a foot hold inside of me. She was taking over.

“Cages are available,” said Dalton.

“What about sneaking up behind him and scaring him to death,” I said.

As a wise woman once counseled: be careful for what you pray because while walking that same path the next morning, the whistle pig and I met eye to eye, though things went haywire and ricocheted: he on a hasty retreat and me in a dead faint.

On his hind legs, he was chowing down on the last of my sumptuous cilantro plants. With a flourish, he scooted over the wall and barreled into the back wood and I haven’t seen him since.

Later in wonder, I read that call them what you may, the whistle pig, wood chuck, ground hog, earth pig or land beaver “get most of the water they need from the juice of food-plants, aided by the sprinkling of rain or dew.

Awh…..

Because whistle pig is a particular in the world of animal kingdom folk. I’ve since learned that they eat one thing at at time.

That burly guy is probably back with the family telling tales about the honey pot that they too can have if they are persistent in scoping out an old lady’s garden.

“Tip one is the house where the dog died,” WP will regale with the kids in a furry huddle. But I digress; I am my father’s daughter.

So he has not returned. Maybe my scream rivaled another rendezvous. Or maybe he doesn’t care for swiss chard.

In any case, all must be fed.

Swiss Chard Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Breadcrumbs

1 bunch Swiss Chard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 lemon
3/4 cup grated Parmesan

Wash and dry the chard. Remove the stems from the leaves. Cut into 1/8 inch slices. Place into salad bowl.

Warm 1/4 olive oil. Add breadcrumbs, stirring frequently until they are golden and crisp. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper flakes and remove from the heat.

Zest the lemon in the bowl of chard. Juice the lemon into another bowl and add salt. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the olive oil.

Add the Parmesan and about 2/3 of the lemon dressing to the bow. Toss until coated. Add more dressing to taste. Toss in the toasted breadcrumbs.

 

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