This dish is the delicious love child of an excessive amount of spring produce and Greek yogurt. If warm, yogurt coated vegetables sounds ridiculous, trust me—just go with it; you can thank me later.
If you’re still not convinced (when have I ever led you astray?), chances are also good that you my friend haven’t met Yotam Ottolenghi yet. The Israeli-born chef, restaurateur and author is quite possibly one of my biggest culinary inspirations. I’ve yet to visit his restaurants, but I pore over his books like a sorority girl reading Cosmo.
His food is produce-heavy, with a strong Middle Eastern & Mediterranean influence. Ingredients like fresh herbs, za’atar, toasted nuts, labneh and tahini punctuate his dishes with bold flavors and textures.
But what’s truly amazing about it isn’t that his cooking is stuffed with obscure ingredients or weird flavor combinations, it’s that he takes everyday ingredients and reworks them into completely fresh dishes with just a few simple twists. Like, absolutely genius combos that make you feel stupid for not having tried them before. Like yogurt and vegetables.
According to Ottolenghi, pasta with yogurt sauce is a classic combo in the Palestinian dish shishbarak. Molly’s written about it here and the folks at Food52 have a delightful Greek twist over here. But no pasta, no problem.
There’s something synergistic about a dish of tangy yogurt sauce and, in this case, deeply green Swiss chard, steamed new potatoes and unabashedly large dose of fresh dill and lemon. The hardest part is waiting for the chard stems to caramelize in olive oil until they are rendered sweet and tender, a step I promise you won’t want to skip.
You better believe I’ll be making this sauce with everything: steamed asparagus, green beans, kale, radishes, spinach, green peas, fava beans, etc. After you try it just once, you will too. I won’t even say I told ya so.
Greek Yogurt-Creamed Swiss Chard & New Potatoes
With a filet of seared salmon or grilled chicken, this is the answer to the weeknight dinner conundrum. Add a sliced boiled egg or two, and lunch at your desk won’t seem so dull. Heck, pour a couple mimosas and this would be the perfect accoutrement to a sunny Easter brunch on the deck.
Serves 4 as a side dish
4 medium or 8 small new potatoes, scrubbed
1 large bunch Swiss chard
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ cup plain Greek-style yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra wedges for serving
2 tablespoons cream (optional; you could also use milk, white wine or broth)
Cut the potatoes into 1/4’’ slices. Place in a steamer basket over simmering water and cook for 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Clean the Swiss chard by swishing it in a large bowl of water to remove any debris. Tear off the greens from the stems. Finely chop the stems and set aside. Spin the greens dry in a salad spinner, then roughly chop.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the chard stems and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, until caramelized and tender. Add the chard greens, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 5 minutes, tossing frequently.
Add the yogurt, dill, lemon zest & juice, remaining olive oil and cream (if using) and remove from the heat. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat in the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and lemon juice if necessary. Serve warm or room temperature, garnished with extra sprigs of dill and lemon wedges for squeezing.