Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New York Times Recipe sent by a Member

New York Times

May 24, 2011
Quinoa and Chard Cakes
I’d been thinking about making a sort of “burger” with quinoa and vegetables when I saw a recipe for chard cakes in the Dining section of The Times. I combined the two ideas and came up with these quinoa and chard cakes, which you can serve as a main dish or a side. A few days later, I made the same recipe but used spinach, which is lower in sodium, instead of chard (see variation below). Top these cakes with yogurt spiked with puréed garlic.

1 1/2 pounds Swiss chard, washed and stemmed (do not discard the stems)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 plump garlic cloves, minced, or 2 teaspoons minced green garlic

2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon canola oil

For serving:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 garlic clove, puréed with a generous pinch of salt

1. Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously and add the chard leaves. Blanch for two to three minutes until tender, then transfer to the ice water. Drain, squeeze out excess water and chop medium-fine. Add the chard stems to the water, and cook four to five minutes until tender. Transfer to the ice water, then drain and cut in 1/4-inch dice. Measure out 3/4 cup of the stems, and reserve the rest for another purpose.

Alternatively, steam the chard leaves, then the stems, above an inch of boiling water until tender. The leaves will take three to four minutes, the stems five minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a medium or large skillet. Add the garlic. When it is fragrant, in 30 seconds to a minute, stir in the chard leaves and stems and the cumin. Stir together for about a minute, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl, and add the quinoa, Parmesan and egg. Stir together.

3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the canola oil together over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Moisten your hands, and shape the quinoa and chard mixture into four hamburger-size patties (or make smaller, fritter-ish patties). Carefully place the patties in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Press down on the tops of the patties with the bottom of your spatula to prevent them from falling apart; if they are thick enough, they should stay together. Cook for four to five minutes on each side until nicely browned. Remove from the heat and serve.

Variation: Substitute 2 pounds bunch spinach for the chard. Stem and wash the leaves (discard the stems) and wilt, in batches, in a large frying pan in the water left on their leaves after washing. Proceed as instructed.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The cooked chard and cooked quinoa will keep for four days in the refrigerator. The mixture will keep for a day.

Nutritional information per serving: 242 calories; 2 grams saturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 53 milligrams cholesterol; 18 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 485 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 11 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of "The Very Best of Recipes for Health."

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