Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cheesy Chard Fritters

      I love fritters. Whether its potato pancakes (latkes), corn fritters, carrots fritters, zucchini fritters.....everything seems to taste better in a batter and fried up in oil. At least now I can say that the judges on "Chopped"explain that the vegetables' essence and juices are sealed in.....right....

   I am no vegetarian, but Deborah Madison sure makes it tempting in her new book, "Vegetable Literacy". Including a really tasty recipe for Swiss Chard Fritters. She calls for ricotta in her recipe, being out of ricotta, I substituted cottage cheese. I used the same amount, I just blended it until it was creamy in a food processor. I also did not use beet greens or beets to top my fritters with. I like my beets in a chocolate cake (you probably know that from the cake recipe I blogged about earlier).

   Deborah's book is more than just a cookbook; it's also a gardner's friend. All recipes are grouped by vegetable family and she lists varieties, kitchen wisdom, what to eat with the vegetable, how to cook and freeze and growing tips as well.

Chard, Ricotta and Saffron Cakes

10 to 12 cups trimmed chard leaves
2 pinches of saffron threads
1 cup white whole wheat pastry flour
1 tspn sea salt
1 1/2 tspn baking powder
1 cup ricotta (see above for substitution)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 c milk
2 eggs
3 tblspn olive oil plus more for frying
sour cream to serve

Don't be scared by the amount of chard in this recipe-it does wilt when you cook it! Not as much as spinach does, but a lot more than kale does.

Wash the chard-leaving some water on the leaves-like in the picture above. Cover and cook the chard in a pot over high heat until its wilted. This does not take long, under 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it!

When the chard is wilted, put it in a colander to cool and drain.

Cover saffron thread with 2 tablespoons boiling water and set aside. 

Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, milk and eggs until blended. Add the oil and the saffron and then whisk in the flour mixture. 

Put the chard in between two paper towels and gently pat down to get out any excess water. Take it out of the paper towels and chop the chard finely and stir it into the batter.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop the batter in by the spoonful into the hot pan. You can make large or small cakes-mine were more medium sized. 
Frying up the fritters

 The batter is thick so it will take a bit to cook. Cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flip over and cook another 3 minutes. DO NOT press the fritter down!

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

These make a good appetizer or could be a side course of a meal. Or you could just eat them over the stove, hot out of the oil. There's nothing wrong with eating a fritter straight out of the pan-just don't burn yourself! 

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