Getting creative with healthy greens

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Did you know "kale" autocorrects to "Jake"? I found this out over Labor Day weekend when I jotted down this month's recipe in the notes section of my phone. I don't know how many of you regularly send texts about kale, but it seems like good info to share. Maybe you are a CSA holder and you've sent a loved one a concerned text like this: "What the heck am I going to do with all this kale again?"

I've gotten kale or chard almost every CSA share this summer, and it does become a challenge to keep things interesting over the course of several months. I love healthy greens and I especially love the taste of chard, but sauteing or even grilling them over and over gets a little stale.

I'm also not a fan of those "fake bread" kind of recipes — think cauliflower pizza crust, broccoli tots, etc. — that are almost entirely cheese and some kind of flour or bread crumbs. I wanted an easy, healthy side dish that was outside of my usual wheelhouse. I often turn to French cooking for this — the flavors and techniques are outside of my kitchen routine, and are generally simple and wholesome.

These kale (and minimal chard) fritters are inspired by French farcous (chard fritters), but are mostly made with kale, and flavored in a totally different way. Fresh dill gives them an amazing, nutty taste that complements the leafy greens well, and really, frying anything in butter makes it good. You can also freeze these for up to a month or so, and reheat them in the oven or microwave. And besides a little egg and flour, they are all leafy greens, so they're still healthy. Even with the butter. Eat them with a dipping sauce, fold them into a sandwich (kind of like a little veggie burger!), or just eat them on the side of some nice pork.

Kale and chard fritters

Makes 18-24

INGREDIENTS:

Bunch kale

bunch chard

(Both leaves only, stems removed)


1 red onion or large shallot

3 cloves garlic

A handful of fresh dill

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1/2-2/3 cup flour

Butter for frying

DIRECTIONS:

Bring a pot of water to boil, then boil greens for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain into colander and cool with cold water or ice. Meanwhile, chop onion and garlic into large chunks. Set aside.

Toss drained, cooled greens into a bowl, keeping colander handy. In small handfuls, drain all the greens by squeezing them in your fist, until they're reduced in size by about 50 percent and free of most excess water.

Add greens to food processor with onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper and cheese. Pulse until everything is about the size of relish or (you will laugh at me) big flecks of glitter, then dump into a mixing bowl. (Warning: I had to do this in two batches, and I have a seven-cup food processor.) After greens are in mixing bowl, gently mix in eggs, then flour.

Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan to medium-high, and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter. After it melts and pan is hot, make flat, silver dollar-size pancakes with greens mix, and add to pan. Fry 2 to 4 minutes per side, or until fritters have browned on both sides. Serve alone, as a side, or with your favorite dipping sauce. (I think mustard would be great, or hummus, or even barbecue sauce.)


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