Published on: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 23:20:00.
I grew up in a family with three siblings, and with so many mouths to feed, my mother had to be careful with money. During the summer we ate vegetables, fruit, and berries from our own garden. When you grow your own food, you develop a totally different relationship to it. This led to a strict principle: never throw away food. While I haven't always paid attention to the things my mom taught me, the responsible use of food is one rule I've definitely internalized. My wife can attest to this after seeing me carefully scrape the remaining dough from the mixing bowl with a spatula.
However, there are some foods that are difficult to use sparingly, and that includes the wonderful vegetable chard. It has tender green leaves attached a thick tough stem. When these are boiled together, either the stem will remain raw or the leaves will overcook. Most people avoid this by just cutting out the stems and throwing them away. We've made a virtue of necessity by using our head of chard to make two side dishes. Here is our recipe for baked schnitzel with chard: Baked Schnitzel with Two Kinds of Chard
Baked Schnitzel with Two Kinds of Chard (serves 4)
|4 schnitzel||in almond flour|
|150 g_(6 oz)||gluten|
|300 ml_(1 1/2cup)||cream|
|50 g_(2 oz)||hard cheese|
|300 ml_(1 1/2cup)||vegetable broth|
Wash the chard and separate the soft leaves from the firm stalks. Only throw away or compost the really tough parts of the stem. Sort the leaves and cut the stalks into thin slices. Then boil the stalks in 200 ml_(1 cup) vegetable broth for about 30 minutes. Drain away the broth, add 100 ml_(1/2 cup) cream, and puree with a hand blender. Season to taste with nutmeg and then stir in 150 g_(6 oz) gluten. This ensures the correct saturation effect and gives our chard stalk puree the right consistency.
While this is cooking, we can prepare our schnitzel. These should be sauteed in olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side, then placed in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Put the chard leaves in the pan over medium heat and lightly sautee them until they collapse. (Make sure there is enough oil left in the pan for this.) Then add the chard to the schnitzel. Finally, stew the crushed garlic and the finely-chopped scallions in the pan. We use almost all of the scallions, cutting off only the roots and the withered tips. Needless to say, we use the same pan for all of this and don't rinse it between steps!
After 3-4 minutes, deglaze with 100 ml_(1/2 cup) broth and 200 ml_(1 cup) cream and season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Anyone who knows me knows that I'll add a dash of chili, too, but this is optional. Now boil the sauce vigorously again and pour it over the schnitzel and chard in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 175° C for 10 minutes. This should be timed so that the chard stalks are finished right as the schnitzel goes into the oven, so that you can use the baking time to finish your puree.
I have to admit that chard-stalk puree isn't a huge culinary achievement. I wouldn't be too excited if that's the only thing I were served. But with our sauce, it's a tasty and satisfying side dish with almost no carbs, and the baked schnitzel with chard leaves is a hit!
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