From Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
Often I have one of my favorite cookbooks out and I find so many great recipes for the box. Last week it was Veg from HFW, this week it is Deborah Madison’s book. I love fritters and cakes and am really looking forward to making this one. Since our greens are suffering a little holiness this is a great way to use the greens, not let them go to waste in the field.
10 to 12 cups trimmed chard leaves
2 pinches of Saffron threads
1 cup white whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/3 cup or more grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup Milk 2 Eggs
3 TB Olive Oil or Ghee, plus extra for frying
Thick Yogurt or Sour Cream, to finish - or Sorrel Sauce
Slivered Basil Leaves, to finish
Wash the chard, drain, and put it in a pot with the water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook over high heat until wilted. You want the chard to be tender but not overcooked, so keep an eye on it and taste it frequently. Add a few splashes of water if the pot threatens to dry out. When the chard is done, put it in a colander to cool and drain. Cover the saffron threads with 2 TB boiling water and set aside. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. In second larger bowl, mix together the ricotta, Parmesan, milk, and eggs until blended. Add the oil and the saffron, then whisk in the flour mixture. Returning to the chard, squeeze out as much water as possible, then chop it finely and stir it into the batter. Heat a few tsp olive oil or ghee in a skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter by the spoonful into the hot pan, making small or larger cakes as you wish. The batter is quite thick and it will not behave like a pancake. You need to give it plenty of time in the pan to cook through. Cook until golden on the bottom, then turn the cakes once resisting any urge to pat them down, and cook until the second side is also well colored, maybe 3 minutes per side, or longer. Serve each cake with a tiny spoonful of sour cream.