ChardOn Saturday Nigel and I made a Drinkwell delivery to the Chocolate Lab in the Dogpatch.  We had a truly fantastic, I would say perfect, lunch.  After that very enjoyable experience we walked over to Olivier’s Butchery where we bought a well aged Hanger Steak.  If you eat meat and are not familiar with Olivier’s I highly recommend checking them out!  For Sunday night’s supper we rubbed a good amount of our Lavender Salt into half the steak (which is more than plenty for 2 people) then let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  Put the griddle (with a little oil) in the oven and heated to 450 F.  Once the pan was screaming hot I threw on the steak, cooked on each side for 7 to 8 minutes then pulled it from the oven.  While the steak was resting, I left the griddle pan in the oven, deglazed with a shot of brandy and threw in the chard.  At this point the oven was off, but still so hot that it was enough to cook the chard, I cut the stems right there in the pan with cooking shears, turned it all a couple of times and that was it.  Dinner - steak and chard, completely awesome and only one pan to clean.  That simple.

But for an actual Chard recipe last night I went back to my trusty Ottolenghi “Plenty” and made the Chard Cakes.  Ottolenghi serves the Chard Cakes with a Yogurt Sorrel Sauce, but one of our members sent me a recipe for Feta Yogurt Green Garlic Dip which would go perfectly with these cakes, recipe below.  If you don’t want to use a sauce you can simply squeeze a little lemon juice which is what we did and it was fantastic.  We ate these with the light Spring Soup and it made a very satisfying meal.  Hope you enjoy it as much as Nigel and I did!

Chard Cakes - Serves 4 as a starter or side 1 bunch Chard 1/3 cup Pine Nuts 1 TB Olive Oil 4 oz Cream Cheese 1 Egg 6 TB Breadcrumbs (I didn’t have any old bread so I used crackers in a blender instead) 1/2 tsp Salt Pepper to taste Oil for frying, half vegetable oil of choice and half olive

Trim the bottoms of the Chard and separate stems from leaves.  Chop the stems fairly small.  Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the stems, cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the leaves and simmer another 3 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool.

While the Chard is cooling fry the Pine Nuts in the TB of Olive Oil.  Keep an eye on it as this happens very quickly in about 1 minute, you want them to just turn a dark golden.  Take the cooled chard and using both hands squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible (if you are making the Spring Soup the same night you can add this water to the pot), then roughly chop the Chard.  Mix Chard, Egg, Cream Cheese, Salt and Bread Crumbs and add Pine Nuts with the Olive Oil.  The recipe says the mix should be fairly dry so that you can form patties and if it isn’t to add more bread crumbs.  I did not add more to mine and used a rubber spatula to get the batter into the pan and to shape them.

Pour enough frying oil into a frying pan to come to 1/4 inch up the sides.  The patties should not be to thick mine were probably just under 1 inch.  Fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels to absorb extra oil.  Enjoy!

Feta Yogurt Green Garlic Dip 4 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled 1/2 to 1 cup plain yogurt 1 Sprig Green Garlic, washed and sliced into rings Juice from 1/2 Lemon Fresh Ground Black Pepper Put Feta and Yogurt into a small mixing bowl and mix until smooth and creamy  Add Green Garlic rings, Lemon Juice and Pepper to taste.  Sere with crackers, bread, vegetables or Chard Cakes!