Rainbow Chard Fritters
Rainbow chard is one of those veggies that we can’t resist buying by the armful. It always looks so pretty and appetizing! Consequently, it tends to overrun our crisper drawer, turning it into a thick jungle of dark, leafy greens that’s challenging to eat before it wilts — especially in these Covidian times. It’s quite the (admittedly self-made) predicament. Luckily, we live in a world with fritters, which, in all of their fried, crispy goodness, make it easy to use up lots of greens all at once.
While some fritters end up being more batter than vegetable, these are decidedly the opposite. We use two full bunches of blanched rainbow chard and half a red onion, along with a small handful of shredded mozzarella, a bit of flour, and an egg. It creates just enough of a batter to thinly coat the greens, so they hold together, but aren’t super doughy. We also stir in lemon zest, grated garlic, and some crushed red pepper for brightness, aromatics, and spice, respectively.
We like forming our fritters so they’re on the thicker side. That way, they fry up with super crispy outsides and moist, chewy insides (the texture is even kind of silky because of the chard). But feel free to make thinner patties if you want an even crispier bite; they’ll still have a chunky quality thanks to all the veggies.
Of course, no fritter would be complete without a dipping sauce. We’ve gone the creamy, herby route with a swirl of sour cream, mayo, and fresh basil and parsley — plus a little garlic and lemon juice for zing. It’s a cool, tangy counterpart to the subtle spice of the fritters. (And conveniently, it makes the greens-averse kids in the family want to gobble them right up!)
Our tips: You can use whatever dark, leafy greens you want for this recipe. But no matter what you use, make sure you really squeeze out all the water; otherwise, the fritters won’t crisp up in the frying pan. You can also switch up the herbs in the dipping sauce, or even add some to the batter itself.
For the basil dipping sauce:
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 cup loosely packed Gelson’s organic fresh basil
½ cup loosely packed fresh parsley
1 garlic clove
½ tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground Gelson’s black pepper, to taste
For the fritters:
2 bunches rainbow chard
1 large Gelson’s egg
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup Gelson’s shredded mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp lemon zest
¾ tsp Gelson’s crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, grated
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground Gelson’s black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for garnish
To make the basil dipping sauce: In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, basil, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse until thoroughly combined, 15 to 30 seconds. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Chill until ready to eat.
To make the fritters: Cut the stems off the rainbow chard, and reserve them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the rainbow chard greens and stems in the water for about 1 minute, or until the stems are tender. Immediately plunge the chard into an ice bath. Drain and squeeze the excess moisture out of the greens, and roughly chop all of the chard.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg thoroughly. Add the chard, red onions, mozzarella cheese, all-purpose flour, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper to the bowl. Using a spatula, mix everything together until evenly combined.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1” vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the fritter mixture into the pan and flatten slightly. Continue placing the mixture in the oil, leaving about 2” between each fritter and being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Let the fritters cook, undisturbed, until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fritters with a spatula and cook until browned on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the fritters and place on a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Repeat until all of the batter is used.
The fritters can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Garnish with lemon wedges and a side of the basil dipping sauce.
Recipe adapted from: The Kitchn