Chard patties with garlic-pesto-yogurt sauce

Chard Patties with Garlic-Pesto Yogurt Sauce 
(vegetable patties lightly adapted from Ottolenghi's Plenty, Chronicle Books, 2011)

It's been too hot to cook anything complicated and a trip to the local Farmer's market today yielded some beautiful yellow-stalked chard today.  I also happened to make some peach ice cream and so we decided that meat was out.  Fred checked out some Ottolenghi recipes because chard is often used in Middle Eastern and Syrian dishes. He found this one and we organized a really delicious dairy dinner in under and hour. 

I do want to give a shout out to the farmers markets that dot the northeastern states at this time of year, they are an inspiration to gardener's, cooks and environmentalists. 

Ottolenghi suggests this dish as an appetizer, we added a portion of pasta and served it as a light dinner. 

cutting board, knives
2 large pots for boiling the chard and pasta 
large bowl for mixing the vegetable cake ingredients 
frying pan to toast pine nuts and saute the vegetable cakes 
mixing spoons
measuring spoons 

Ingredients for the Chard patties:
1 1/4 lb chard (a bit more won't hurt the recipe)
1/3 c pine nuts
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
4 oz salty brined cheese (feta, kashkaval, bulgarian are a few examples)
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt (scant! the cheese is salty)
black pepper (to taste)
6 Tbsp unflavored bread crumbs 
oil for frying 

Ingredients for the garlic-pesto yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used 1% Chobani Greek yogurt)
2-3 cloves garlic , minced very finely
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard 
3-4 Tbsp finely minced parsley
2 Tbsp pesto (I used homemade, but I'm sure commercial would be fine)

Ingredients for pasta and sauce:
Any shape pasta, make enough for 2-3 people (we used farfalle)
1/4 c pesto
1/4 c garlic-pesto yogurt sauce 

  • We were working together, Fred making the chard and me making the pasta. If you are working alone, start with the yogurt sauce, it will need to stand to allow the flavors to meld (about 30 minutes).
  • Prepare the pasta, drain and allow to cool (mix in a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking if necessary).
  • Make the garlic pesto yogurt sauce while the pasta is cooking.
  • Mix the drained pasta with the pesto- yogurt sauce and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the chard patties.
  • Prepare the chard patties
  • Serve the warm patties with chilled sauce and room-temperature pasta

1. To make the sauce: combine yogurt, minced garlic, minced parsley, mustard and pesto. Remove 1/4 cup to a small bowl, cover the remaining sauce and chill. This will allow the flavors to meld. WARNING: the raw garlic will be sharp, if you are not a garlic lover, cut back on the amount of garlic (but do not use powdered garlic, it won't give you the same taste).

2. Cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, mix the reserved 1/4c yogurt sauce with pesto. I happen to have home made pesto (lots of basil growing in my garden), but you can certainly use prepared pesto.  

3. Drain the pasta, add the pesto-yogurt sauce , cover and let stand at room temperature while you prepare the chard patties. 

4. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water (about 2 quarts) to a boil while preparing the chard.   

5. Separate the stalks from the leaves. roughly chop the stalks and then roughly cut the leaves. Add the stalks to the boiling water, simmer for 3-4 minutes and add the leaves, simmering for an additional 3-4 minutes. Drain and press as much water as you can out of the chard. 

6. Allow chard to cool while you toast the pine nuts in the hot frying pan with a bit of oil. Be careful not to burn the nuts. Cool. 

7. Measure off the 4 oz of cheese and either mash or dice. Set aside. 

8. Roughly chop the chard into smaller pieces, slide the chopped vegetables into a bowl, add the nuts and oil, cheese, egg, and breadcrumbs. Mix well.  S&P to taste. Fred found the mix sticky, but decided not to add more breadcrumbs until he tried making one patty. Ottolenghi recommends adding a bit more breadcrumbs if it's too sticky. 

9. The mixture will make approximately 8 patties (2 in rounds, about 3/4 of an inch thick). Fry in a small amount of hot oil , 3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel.  The cheese pieces will become golden and the pine nuts that touch the oil will darken. 

10. Serve warm with the garlic-pesto-yogurt sauce and prepared pasta on the side. 


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