when i was cooking dinner tonight, i thought about the types of foods that i have been posting. sadly, as only one person, i can not eat a whole round of cornbread by myself before it starts to turn dry and stale or can i eat a whole pot of soup before i get sick of it. even though i have been trying to cut back on portions so i wouldn’t have to eat butternut squash and chickpea salad for 4 days straight, sometimes you just can’t make a tiny, single tiered birthday cake (that would be ungenerous.)
this is a very typical weeknight dinner for me. i usually roast a huge batch of vegetables on sunday after i get home from the farmers market to eat throughout the week (on a salad for lunch, dipped into ketchup, on top of some grains) and often have some sort of leafy green and a piece of toast. my dinners are smaller because i get home later since i run or go to the gym after work and don’t really want to have a huge dinner to digest right before going to sleep. sometimes i just have a large smoothie (banana, frozen berries, small scoop of protein powder, almond milk, and a very, very large handful of spinach (which you DO NOT TASTE AT ALL!)) for dinner, especially if i do a long run at night.
tonight i had some roasted aspargus with lemon, roasted parsnips with parm, and these very tasty swiss chard cakes. i bought a huge bunch of red swiss chard (this accounts for the color) at the civic center farmers market for $1 and wanted to cook it a different way then my usual sautee with garlic and balsamic finish. i listened to an episode of the splendid table (which i love as much as this american life, radio lab, and the new yorker outloud) where a caller asked what to do with an abundance of swiss chard from her garden. lynne rossetto kasper suggested this little swiss chard cakes or fritters. they turned out crispy and delicious and shocking red in color. they are pretty fast to make as well and good for school nights.
swiss chard cakes
1 large bunch of swiss chard, cleaned well and leaves and stalks sliced into thin ribbons
2 large garlic cloves sliced thinly
1 bunch of scallions slices in 1/2 in segments, on the diagonal
small handful chopped olives or maybe capers
salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar to taste
1 tsp smoked paprika
generous grating of parmagiano
heat a large saute pan over medium high heat with a bit of olive oil. add the garlic and scallions and saute until golden brown. add the swiss chard, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and cover. when the greens have wilted down, remove the lid and turn up the heat to try to evaporate off some of the moisture (aka pot likker.) when the greens are just tender pull them off the heat in dump them into a mixing bowl. let them cool for a bit and add just enough flour and egg and parmagiano to bind them into small patties. wipe out your pan and heat it up with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. when the oil starts to ripple and smoke a little bit, place the patties into the pan and let them crisp up on both sides. this should not take too long. make sure that you do not touch them after you place them into the pan for several moments so a crust with form. otherwise, everything will just stick to the pan. crisp up all of the patties and serve. i had mine with a small spoonful of goat cheese and a bit of hot sauce. you can also make them into an actual veggie burger with a bun or, for lunch the next day, on top of a salad.