Swiss chard and herb fritters

April 2, 2021 at 8:25 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), Dark leafy greens, Monthly menu plan, Ottolenghi, Turkish)


This is another recipe from the cookbook Jerusalem by Ottolenghi. The fritters are basically pureed swiss chard and herbs mixed with eggs and a little flour and feta cheese. You make them into little pancakes and pan-fry them. They are a great way to use up a random selection of leafy greens and herbs.

Ingredients
  • 400g Swiss chard leaves, stalks removed
  • 30g flat leaf parsley
  • 20g coriander
  • 20g dill
  • 1.5 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated [It sounds like a lot, but it’s not too much! But I have never used freshly grated]
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 eggs
  • 80g / 3oz feta, crumbled
  • 60ml olive oil
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the chard & simmer for 5 minutes. Drain & squeeze until the chard is completely dry.
  2. Place the chard in a food processor along with the herbs, nutmeg, sugar, flour, garlic & eggs. Blitz until you have a smooth green batter.  Crumble in the feta & gently fold it through. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Spoon in 1 heaped tablespoon of the batter for each fritter. Press down gently on the fritter to flatten it to about 7cm wide. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown or rather green. Transfer to some kitchen paper & keep warm while you fry the rest of the fritters in batches. Serve warm, with lemon wedges.
My notes

At first I was a little bit confused about how much chard to use. The recipe says “14 oz / 400 g Swiss chard leaves, white stalks removed”. After pondering it a bit, I assumed that the weight measurement was for the leaves alone. But what to do with all the stems then? Always a quandry.

I liked the flavor a lot. The combination of chard, parsley, cilantro, dill and nutmeg is yummy. And the addition of feta reminds me a little bit of the spinach and dill matzoh lasagne I often make on passover. Ottolenghi says the recipe is Turkish, but it reminded me a lot of kuku sabzi (a Persian herb sort-of frittata). And apparently I’m not the only one.

When Alma first tried a fritter she made a face and said no. Then I brought out the ketchup and she ate a ton of fritters, with probably an equal amount of ketchup.

The cooking technique was a bit tricky, and I’m not sure I did it right. My first batch of fritters ended up slightly crisp around the edges and creamy on the middle, but later batches were less crisp and more dry. I think I used too large of a skillet, because the recipe says you should be able to fit 3 fritters (each made from a heaping tablespoon of mixture) in a pan, and I could fit probably 5 in my pan. Next time I will use a smaller skillet. (It says a “medium” frying pan. Is that 9 inches?)

But I liked this recipe and it wasn’t too much work. I’ll definitely try it again. Maybe I’ll make more next time, as we ate the entire batch in one meal. I wouldn’t mind having some batter leftover for another day. And most likely any dark leafy greens would work. I’m curious to try this with whatever random greens I get from my CSA this Spring. Arugula? Postelein? Sorrel?

I’m also interested in trying another Ottolenghi recipe for swiss chard cakes with sorrel yogurt sauce. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for fresh sorrel!

Update Sept 11, 2021:

I made these again today for lunch, but I didn’t have enough chard, so I used all the spinach from my CSA. It still wasn’t enough greens so I added in some radish tops. I still only had about 1/2 the 400g of greens the recipe called for, so I added more of the herbs, as well as a big handful of shiso/perilla leaves and some fresh oregano. I bet mint would also be good. I boiled the chard and radish tops for the specified time, but just threw the spinach in the pot the second before I was going to drain the chard. I had to add some extra bread crumbs because the batter was extremely wet. I didn’t measure, just poured them in until the batter seemed to be the right consistency. In the final fritters the dominant flavor I tasted was dill, but overall they just tasted yummy. Alma ate hers again with ketchup, and scarfed them up. We were all disappointed that there weren’t more. I want to try it again with the full amount of greens. In the original recipe this says serves 4 (barely) as an appetizer. I’d like to figure out how to turn it into a whole meal. Today at lunch I served the fritters with leftover quinoa and kidney beans, but it didn’t quite seem like the right combination. If I can figure out what to serve it with, I’ll add it to my monthly menu plan! I often have greens and/or herbs that I’m not sure what to do with. A flexible recipe that lets you just throw them into the food processor in whatever combination you have–that would be perfect!

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