The chard leaves were cut from the stems, washed, and cooked with just the water clinging to the leaves until wilted. The leaves were drained, left to cool, and then squeezed to remove excess water. I held onto the stems and used them as well. A couple of pinches of saffron were covered with two tablespoons of boiling water and left to steep for a few minutes. Meanwhile, flour, salt and baking powder were combined in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, ricotta, parmesan, milk, and eggs were whisked together before olive oil and the saffron were added. The dry ingredients were whisked into the ricotta mixture, and then the drained and squeezed chard leaves were finely chopped and added to the batter. The batter was dropped by the spoonful into a hot skillet with a small bit of olive oil. You want to cook the cakes over medium heat to allow enough time for them to cook through before getting too brown on one side. They cooked for about three minutes per side. They could be garnished in all sorts of ways including dollops of sour cream or yogurt and diced pieces of roasted beets or micro greens as Deborah Madison suggested. I had some creme fraiche on hand, so I used that for a topping. Also, we had received some fresh corn that I cut from the cob and sauteed in browned butter. After sauteing the corn, I sauteed the chopped chard stems keeping them separated to prevent the red stems from staining the yellow corn. Both were used on top of the creme fraiche. Last, I fried some sage leaves from my herb garden in the brown butter to add one more color to the presentation.
These chard cakes were rich and tasty with the ricotta and eggs, and I always love the flavor of saffron. However, these would still be great without saffron. I can’t wait to see what the farms deliver next week. And, I can’t wait to find the right recipes for using it all. I just have to stop myself from bringing home more vegetables than we can eat.
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