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Potato, Three-Cheese, & Swiss Chard Cakes

These colorful potato patties are reminiscent of panfried gnocchi with lots of greens and cheese added. Much easier to shape than gnocchi, and completely flour-free, they are an ideal side dish to meat or poultry, or a satisfying appetizer served atop arugula dressed with lemon juice and  olive oil or, as in the picture below, shredded green cabbage cooked with mustard seeds and garlic until browned at the edges and limp.

Feel free to use spinach or beet greens or Tuscan kale instead of the Swiss chard, and to swap out goat cheese for the Feta, or Pecorino for the Parmigiano; you really can’t go wrong with potatoes, greens, and cheese cooked in a bit of olive oil until golden on the outside and creamy on the inside!

Serves 2 as a side dish or appetizer

  • 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 ounces whole-milk Ricotta
  • 1 ounce French Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed thoroughly
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Place the potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with cool water  and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until just tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Reserve the cooking water, but remove the potatoes from the saucepan, drain, and cool.

Peel the potatoes and place in a bowl. Crush with a fork, leaving some small chunks for  a more interesting texture. Stir in the Ricotta, Feta, and Parmigiano. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and all the pepper. Set aside.

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Return the potato cooking water to a boil. Remove the stems from the Swiss chard (reserve it for another use; I love the stems boiled, then tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper). Drop in the Swiss chard leaves  and cook 3 minutes, or until floppy. Drain, cool, and squeeze dry. Chop the leaves finely.

Place 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the chili flakes, scallions, and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until the scallions are soft, about 3 minutes.

Add the Swiss chard leaves  and cook until they are wilted and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir into the potato mixture and allow to cool thoroughly.

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Compact the mixture with your hands and shape into 4 patties, each about 1 -inch thick.

Wipe out the nonstick skillet. Place it on medium heat. Brush it with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.

Place the potato patties in the skillet and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Brush the tops of the potato patties with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.

Flip the potato patties carefully. Cook until the other side is also golden and crisp, about 5 more minutes. Serve hot.

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