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Spring Bibimbap

['2 bunches Swiss chard (1 to 1 1/2 pounds)', '1 big Kirby cucumber or half of a conventional cucumber', '1 medium carrot, peeled', '6 small radishes', '1 tablespoon sugar', '3/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch of fine sea salt', '2 teaspoons rice vinegar', '1–2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil', '1–2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil', '1 tablespoon toasted or black sesame seeds', '5 cups cooked white or brown rice, or mixed grains, freshly cooked if skipping the rice crisping step', '2 (2-inch) squares toasted nori', '2 cups chopped Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy', 'Kimchi, preferably homemade', '1 avocado, peeled and sliced', 'Gochujang or Sriracha', 'for serving']

Trim the stems from the Swiss chard. Cut or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Reserve half of stems for another use or discard them. Slice the remaining stems into 2-inch lengths, and then into halves, quarters, or eighths to make uniform matchsticks and transfer them to a medium bowl.
Slice the cucumber into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, then stack them up and slice into matchsticks. Slice the carrot into thin (less than 1/4-inch) rounds. Slice the radishes into thinnest possible rounds. Add the vegetables to the bowl with the chard stems. Toss with the sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and let stand as you prepare the rest of the meal. Just before serving, rinse and drain the veggies, blot dry with a clean towel, and toss with the rice vinegar.
Meanwhile, place a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil. Using tongs, add the Swiss chard leaves in increments, adding more as each batch cooks down. Add a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently with the tongs for 3 to 5 minutes, until wilted and the pan appears mostly dry. Remove from the heat and gather up the greens to one side of the pan with a spatula. Holding the chard in place and gently squeezing, tilt the pan over the sink and pour off any excess liquid. (You can do this in a colander if you’re worried about accidently dumping the greens into the sink.) Place the chard in a bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon sesame oil and the sesame seeds. Wipe out the skillet.
To make crispy-base bibimbap rice (optional): Just before serving, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral-tasting oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Press the rice into the skillet, making a thick cake. Let cook without disturbing for 4 to 5 minutes, until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom of the rice.
Wave the nori squares over the flame of a gas burner a few times, until the corners curl and they turn crisp, or roast under a broiler, flipping periodically. Slice into thin strips with a chef’s knife, or crumble with your fingers.
To serve, use a spatula to scoop out the rice and divide it among four bowls, ensuring that everyone gets some of the crispy part. Top with the Swiss chard, kimchi, and avocado, then use a slotted spoon to add the pickled vegetables to the bowls. Garnish with the nori and serve immediately, passing the Gochujang sauce at the table.

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