Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Swiss Chard Tzatziki

Here's another answer to the age-old question: What do I do with all this chard?  Tzatziki, that's what.  This Mediterranean yogurt dip is usually made with cucumber, but this version, from Simply Recipes via Tea & Cookies, is equally delicious, and uses up a whole bunch (literally) of chard.  Better yet, it makes tzatziki possible even when it's not cucumber season!

A couple of notes: Remember to start the yogurt draining the night before you want to make this.  You can also use thick Greek yogurt as a shortcut, but the less liquid in the yogurt, the thicker your tzatziki will be.  Also, I think this would be a great place to use garlic scapes!  Chop them finely, and give the end mixture a whirl in the food processor or with an immersion blender if you want a smoother texture.

adapted from Tea & Cookies

makes about 2-3 cups of dip

4 cups plain yogurt, OR 2 cups very thick plain Greek-style yogurt
1 bunch chard
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons good olive oil
dash cayenne pepper and/or sweet paprika (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The night before (or at least 8 hours before) you want to serve the tzatziki, put the yogurt in a colander lined with paper towels, cheesecloth, or a coffee filter, and let it drain in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.  You want to end up with about 2 cups of very thick yogurt, but don't get hung up on quantities -- this is a "to taste" kind of recipe!  Alternatively, you can use thick Greek-style yogurt and skip this step, though there will still be some liquid and your tzatziki may be slightly thinner.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Remove the stems and ribs from the chard and chop coarsely.  Blanch in boiling water until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes, then drain in a colander.  Run some cold water through the colander to stop the cooking process.  You want to squeeze out as much water as humanly possible; start by pressing on the leaves in the colander with the back of a spoon or spatula, and eventually you'll probably be squeezing with your hands.  

The whole bunch of chard should compress down into about a fist-sized ball.  Put this on a cutting board and chop very finely -- big chunks of chard stuck in your teeth are no fun!  Stir into the strained yogurt, and add the remaining ingredients to taste.  If you want a smoother texture, give the tzatziki a whirl with an immersion blender or food processor.

Serve with fresh veggies and/or pita chips to dip.

To make pita chips from store-bought pitas (from the Smitten Kitchen): Separate the layers of pitas and cut into wedges. Arrange on a large baking sheet and brush lightly with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure that they toast evenly. Let cool.

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