Swiss Chard Cakes (Yotam Ottolenghi)
The recipe for swiss chard cakes is one of many hits from the author of Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi. We make these ALL THE TIME, and while I typically advocate for following this particular chef's every instruction, I've found that this recipe is fairly flexible in terms of ingredients. It calls for kashkaval cheese which can be hard to find, but a good pecorino or parmesan works. I've even used gruyere and cheddar.
The original recipe calls for a sorrel sauce, which is tasty enough. We don't grow sorrel, however, and finding it can add a step of uncertainty when planning to make this, otherwise, easy dish. To that end, I've started using a chive-yogurt sauce which is simply a spoonful of chive pesto in a cupful of whole milk yogurt, a couple twists of the pepper shaker, a pinch of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Personally, I prefer the kick in the chive-yogurt sauce, and since we make and freeze several jars at a time, it is super quick to whip up. All that said, you don't really need a sauce.
Ingredients: 1.5 lbs swiss chard, 1/3c pine nuts, 4oz. kashkaval sheep cheese, 1 egg, 6T breadcrumbs (or panko), sea salt and pepper (to taste), veg or olive oil (for frying)
Bring a large pan of water to boil. Separate stalks from chard leaves and add the stalks to water and simmer for 4 minutes before adding the leaves, continuing to simmer for another 3 minutes. Drain the chard and allow to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop leaves and stalks roughly and put in a medium bowl.
Toast pine nuts in a tablespoon of olive oil for a minute, or until light brown. Add the nuts and oil to the chard, followed by the cheese, egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. If mixture is very soft and sticky, add more crumbs. If it is too dry add another egg. (I invariably bump up all the ingredients when I have extra chard.)
Pour enough frying oil in to coat the bottom of a large skillet. Shape chard mixture into patties roughly 2 inches in diameter and 5/8-inch thick. Fry them until golden brown on each side. Place on paper towels to absorb oil and serve either warm or at room temperature, with sauce.
Makes about 8 patties.