Oh, what a week of delightful leftovers we devoured after our glorious backyard pig roast. Leftovers are truly one of the pluses to hosting a party... Having a break from cooking for a few days after. Especially when you consider all the prep needed for the party. A little rest is well deserved. Suffice it to say that those leftovers were yummy, but they tasted even better knowing they required no work whatsoever.
Alas, the rest must end when the fridge is bare and thus begins the restocking of nutrients.
So off to the farmer's market we went, plucking the freshest of greens. As you all know by now, I buy what looks good without a plan for how it will land on my plate. Now with our fridge full and bursting with glorious greens my mind searched for what to cook up.
As luck would have it, Sunday turned out to be a rainy, yucky day giving me permission to crave something comforting. (Who am I kidding? I always want something comforting.)
I realized that beside all the fresh greens we bought I had fingerling potatoes and baby eggplant that needed to be dealt with. As a matter of fact, I was only able to salvage a handful of the eggplant. The other ones met a different destiny; top of the compost. This is sometimes the result of over zealous buying
This kind of cooking is what Sundays are meant for. Opening up the fridge, kitchen doors, and your mind to invent new recipes. It was going to be a something from nothing kind of day. I started pulling out items and compiled my ingredients to see what would evolve. When JuanCarlos saw my little stockpile he immediately asked if I was making soup. But I just didn't feel liquid-y. I wanted the dish to be warm, but dry. It was simply how I felt. And so, right then and there I realized that the beans were out. They may have made it into the photo but they got bumped on final review on account of my stomach. That is how a something from nothing day plays out. You ask your ingredients to participate. You begin layering flavors and realize that some get to play and others have to sit on the bench 'til the next game.
1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped
4 c Fingerling Potatoes, thick slices
3/4 - 1 c Baby Eggplant, thick slices
1 med/lg Yellow Onion, thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Oil for sautéing
Salt, Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Wash the Swiss Chard, removing any stems that might be too hard to eat. Stems that don't look too woody can be chopped up and cooked. Chop the chard and blanch in salted in boiling water just until wilted. Remove and set aside.
Using the same water, add the potatoes and let cook until tender. Meanwhile, sauté the onions, garlic and Baby Eggplant over medium heat. You want to get these nicely browned, almost crispy. You may need to add oil.
Once the potatoes are done, drain and add those to the onion mixture.
Squeeze all the excess water from the Swiss Chard and chop again. Add to the entire sauté to heat through until everything is combined and warm.
Once it was all done, I couldn't stop eating it. I dubbed it Swiss Chard/Potato hash because it had all the elements of hash, and the consistency, too. This met my desire and expectations for warm, comfort food. I started thinking about other ways this dish could be served. I guess this is a thing I do with everything in my life. I see an item for its obvious use, then look beyond to see how else it can serve. I apply this to clothes, furniture, textiles, so why should food be any different.
Here are some alternative ways for enjoying this 'comfort me' dish.
- Enjoy it straight up as is for a side dish to any protein: fish, meat, chicken
- Smash it up, form small patties and fry them as potato cakes
- Use it as a topping on a lettuce salad. Add beans then top with the warm potato mixture. (another take on my Salad: Hot & Cold)
- Egg/Potato Sandwich: Scramble an egg and add the mixture and cook and place on roll
I love when a new creation takes on a life of its own and invents even more dishes than I originally imagined. Hope this week you can find time to create your own something from nothing. If not, borrow mine