New recipes

Accidental Locavore's Recipe for Swiss Chard Gnocchi (Merda de can)

Accidental Locavore's Recipe for Swiss Chard Gnocchi (Merda de can)

When you live in Maine, most people have gardens, both vegetable and flower. The Accidental Locavore's parents have neighbors with amazing gardens and now that summer is at its peak, they're all looking to share the wealth. Part of the problem with gardens is that there often just aren't enough people to eat it all and while some vegetables like beans and cauliflower can be pickled or preserved, the same just isn't true for things like Swiss chard. We were the happy recipients of a huge bunch of chard and it gave the Accidental Locavore an excuse to try a Nicoise specialty-gnocchi made from Swiss chard and locally referred to as Merda de can. Since wifi is not easily accessible at my parent's house, we had to make due with those twentieth-century artifacts, cookbooks. Found a reasonable recipe for spinach gnocchi in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking and went from there. Here's the recipe we adapted which fed five with leftovers to send as a thank-you to Lola:


  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1tablespoon onion, finely chopped
  • 2 strips bacon cut into 1/4" squares (recipe called for prosciutto or ham, chopped)
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pepper


Cook the Swiss chard until tender; we microwaved it for about 5 minutes. You can also sauté it in a little olive oil or butter until tender. When it is cool enough to handle, drain it and squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can (wrap in paper towels and squeeze). Chop it until it's pretty fine and set aside.

Put the butter, onion and bacon in a small sauté pan over medium heat and cook until the bacon is cooked and the onion is golden. Add the chopped chard and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Put the mixture in a bowl and when it's cooled to room temperature, add the ricotta and flour. Stir until well mixed. Add the egg yolks, grated Parmesan and nutmeg and stir until combined. Taste and add salt or nutmeg as needed.

Make small balls of the mixture by rolling them in your hands. They should be about 1/2" in diameter. If the mixture is too sticky, dust your hands lightly with flour.

To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain the gnocchi in a colander, or remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon. To serve them, we made a simple sauce of butter and fresh sage. Melt a little more than half a stick of unsalted butter in a big sauté pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add about 20 fresh sage leaves. Let the sage leaves cook in the butter until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Gently add the gnocchi and toss to coat with the butter. Serve with additional Parmesan and enjoy!

This is not really the traditional Nicoise way, which uses potatoes with the chard, however these gnocchi were light and flavorful and tasted delicious. You could also serve them with a traditional tomato sauce, or a tomato/cream sauce if you wanted something fancier. If you wanted to make it vegetarian you could leave out the bacon.

Swiss chard

These succulent Swiss Chard Pancakes are known in French as “Farçous”. They hail from Aveyron, a lesser-known region in Occitanie, in South-Central France. Sparsely populated and left mostly unspoiled with wild pastures and picturesque hamlets, Aveyron is often refered to as “La France Profonde” (the deep France). But its cuisine is anything but ho-hum, with many local specialties being staples all throughout Southern France, including the world-famous Pommes Aligot, Gâteau à la Broche and these little Farçous.


The word gnocchi may be derived from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, [22] or from nocca, meaning knuckle. [23] It has been a traditional type of Italian pasta since Roman times. [6] It was introduced by the Roman legions during the expansion of the empire into the countries of the European continent. One ancient Roman recipe consists a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs similar modern dishes include the baked gnocchi alla romana and Sardinian malloreddus [24] which do not contain eggs.

After potatoes were introduced to Europe, they were eventually [ when? ] incorporated into gnocchi recipes. [25] Potato gnocchi are particularly popular in Abruzzo, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, and Lazio.

Storing and packaging Edit

Gnocchi that are home-made are usually consumed on the same day that they are made.

Commercial gnocchi are often sold under modified atmospheric packaging, and may achieve a shelf life of two weeks or more under refrigeration. [26] [27]

Gnocchi di pane (literally "bread lumps"), derived from the Semmelknödel, is made from breadcrumbs and is popular in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. Another variety from the latter region is spinach gnocchi.

Austria Edit

In Austria, gnocchi are a common main or side dish, known by the original name and Austrian variant, nockerl (pl. nockerln). As a side dish, they may accompany main dishes like goulash.

Croatia Edit

Gnocchi are a very popular and often served as a dish in coastal Croatia, typically being served as a first course or a side dish with Dalmatinska pašticada. The Croatian name for Gnocchi is 'njoki'. [28]

Slovenia Edit

Gnocchi, known locally as "njoki," are common in Slovenia's Primorska region, which shares many of its culinary traditions with neighboring Italy.

Poland Edit

An almost identical creation are 'kluski leniwe' ("lazy dumplings"), but do not contain egg. Often they are spiced with various herbs like pepper, cinnamon or allspice. Similar in shape are kopytka ("hooves"), simple dough dumplings in the shape of a diamond, which do not contain cheese. Both are often served with sour cream, butter, caramelized onion, mushroom sauce, or gravy.

France Edit

The name is also used in France in the dish known as gnocchis à la parisienne, a hot dish comprising gnocchi formed of choux pastry [29] served with Béchamel sauce. A specialty of Nice, the gnocchi de tantifla a la nissarda, is made with potatoes, wheat flour, eggs and blette (Swiss chard), which is also used for the tourte de blette. La merda dé can is longer than the original gnocchi.

South America Edit

Due to the significant number of Italian immigrants who arrived in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, gnocchi, ñoqui (Spanish, [ˈɲoki] ) or nhoque (Portuguese, pronounced [ˈɲɔki] ) is a popular dish, even in areas with few Italian immigrants. In Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina there is a tradition of eating gnocchi on the 29th of each month, with some people putting money beneath their plates to bring prosperity. [30] [31] Indeed, in Argentina and Uruguay ñoqui is slang for a bogus employee (according to corrupt accountancy practices, or, in the public sector, the distribution of political patronage), who only turns up at the end of the month to receive their salary. [32]


1. Steam or boil the carrots, ensuring they still retain some crunch. Drain and set aside. 2. In a wok (or large frying pan) heat up the oil, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes. Fry for about a minute on a low/medium heat stirring constantly. Add the chard and fry for another minute or so continuing to stir. Remove from the heat, add the sauce, carrots and coriander. Stir well to combine. Serve immediately.
  • Stems from 1 to 2 bunches of chard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Rinse chard stems, pat dry, and trim off any brown bits.

Use about half the oil to coat the bottom of a gratin dish or other baking dish that will hold the stems in a single layer. Lay stems in the dish, drizzle with remaining oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake until chard stems are tender and start to brown, about 20 more minutes.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Drying the Chard

This gets its own section because it’s probably the most important part of this whole process. You have to dry off each leaf really well. Yes. This is definitely a pain in the you-know-what, but it’s the only way to make sure your leaves are crispy instead of soggy.

Even a little bit of water on a leaf will turn to steam and steam the leaf instead of it getting crispy. So lay out a few paper towels and press the leaves really well in batches to make sure they are dry. You don’t have to do them one at a time or anything, but don’t do them all at once either!

What is Swiss Chard?

Swiss chard is a member of the beet family. It is also known as silver beet and perpetual spinach, and comes in a variety of colors. You'll find stems ranging from bright yellow and orange to red, purplish and even pink hues.

It is in season from July to November.


1 Handful of any Herbs you like Mixed: I used Rosemary, Sage, Basil, and Parsley that I had growing in the garden. About 1 Tbs Dried of each would work too. Use your taste buds.

Blanch Porchini mushrooms and reserve liquid.

Melt butter in big a$ black non stick frying pan until butter just browns. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until till caramelized. Add ground pork and Pancetta and cook. Brown till almost done. Add mushrooms and swiss chard and cook till wilted. Add ½ of the herb mixture. Add 1 cup white wine Cook 2 minutes. Cool. Add pine nuts, bread crumbs, and egg. Mix well.

Pound Veal till loved. I used one bone-in (3lbs), and one de-boned to roll up. The de-boned bones will make a nice stew later, so you can actually have 2 meals out of one breast. Just ask the butcher to de-bone it for you, and he might throw in some string for free.

Line cavity of pouch, or layer on top of boneless veal, the Asiago cheese. Stuff with stuffing or pour stuffing on top of boneless veal.

Roll up and secure with string. Add reserved herbs on top.

Brown rolled up roast in frying pan with rest of reserved mushroom juice and another ½ cup white wine. Brown till juices almost disappear.

Move both roasts to roasting pan. Add beef broth to pan and scrape till reconstituted. Pour over roasts. Add bay leaves to juice in pan with browned veal. Cover with enough aluminum foil with vent.

Cook in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Baste often. Remove foil and cook for an additional hour or until done Basting all the while. Add more broth or water or wine if pan drippings dry out. (throw in some baked potatoes to make an easy meal).

Remove roasts from pan and put on plate. Make gravy: Mix 3/4cup water to 3 heaping Tbl flour in measuring cup. Mix well (like you’re making scrambled eggs), then stir flour mixture into (top of stove pan drippings), stirring constantly until smooth, under high heat till boiling. Boil and stir 3 minutes. And roasts, pour gravy on top, and serve.

Chard Crossed Lovers

You know, being a lover of all things green, it really pains me that Swiss Chard and I didn’t really hit it off.

Sure, I consider myself a happy person most of the time, but this defeat lingers in my mind. It haunts me in my sleep.

Perhaps, the Swiss Chard’s arrival in this week’s CSA is a sign. Perhaps, the battle has been fought, but the war is not over.

Eric took one look at the Chard last night and he said, ‘Well, I guess your lips WILL be touching chard again.’ and he broke into a laughter so evil, I get chills just thinking about it. I took a piece of chard and hit him with it.

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I am a Taurus and I am as stubborn as we are described. I do not accept defeat and I am starting to think that Swiss Chard is a Taurus as well. We are butt heads.

I knew that I couldn’t let Swiss Chard out of my life just yet. It’s bright green, crinkly, and radiant  leaves call out to me for some unfinished business.

So, I did what any girl looking for a Swiss Chard recipe would do and I headed over to Choosing Raw. If you have not visited this website, you really should. Gena is not only a dear friend of mine, but she is a fabulous writer, super helpful, and she whips up some amazing recipes, including Banana Soft Serve. I rest my case.

Raw & Vegan Tuna Salad

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours
  • 2 pickles, chopped (I didn’t have any)
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped (or celery)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp maple syrup OR 1 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare sea salt
  • Freshly Ground Black pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, to garnish

Directions: Place all ingredients into food processor except paprika and cucumber. Pulse until just combined (you want to leave it a tiny bit chunky). Remove from processor and stir in chopped cucumber or celery. Sprinkle with Paprika and another small dusting of Herbamare. Serve in a wrap, on a salad, or with crackers. Serves 4-6.

My mother-in-law got me hooked on this Herbamare a couple years ago and it seriously changed my life.

I had to make some modifications to Gena’s recipe based on what ingredients I had, so it didn’t come out tasting like tuna overly so, but it was still really delicious! Addicting I might say.

I didn’t have pickles or pickle juice, but I tried my best to make a pickle juice by using apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and onion powder. It gave the salad a bit of a bite. I would still recommend using pickles + pickle juice if you can though. I also didn’t have miso.

This raw + vegan tuna salad would be excellent on crackers or on toast. I can’t wait to try it out with different things!

Tonight, I made it into a Swiss Chard wrap.

For help with the wrapping part, I used Gena’s instructions on folding a collard wrap. After washing and drying, I de-veined the stem. Or at least that’s what I told myself I was doing.

Swiss Chard is a bit hard to wrap because the leaves crack very easily, but I managed even though it was a big mess (read: stubborn).

I made two wraps using about 1/4 cup of the tuna salad on each along with chopped veggies.

I actually was really surprised because the Swiss Chard didn’t taste that bad to me this time. It was actually really mild tasting. Perhaps, I like it better raw when the smell doesn’t over power me as much?

I have experimented on and off with raw food recipes over the past year and I have enjoyed most of them. I find that summer is a great time to experiment with raw food because you don’t have to turn on the stove and the meals are often refreshing and energizing. I tend to crave more uncooked meals in the summer, which is why you have seen lots of those on the blog lately.

Some of my favourite raw & no-bake recipes:

Tonight’s question- Have you ever experimented with raw food recipes or would you try some out? Did you come across any that you love in particular? Do share! We could all use a little less oven in this heat…or should I say a little less heat in our oven!

Healthy Living Summit charity raffle today until Friday at noon EST!

I am raffling off one HLS ticket for this year’s Healthy Living Summit in Chicago Aug 13-15th! All proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society. Donating $10 = 1 ticket entry, donating $20 = 3 ticket entries. I haven’t had that many entries (maybe 10 so far) so your chances of winning aren’t too shabby! Visit my donation page to make your donation: Click here. Thank you and goodluck!

I’m now trying to motivate myself to go on a run after discovering my Shuffle (mp3 player) is broken. It is a sad day. I’m hoping for a miracle.  See you tomorrow morning for a fun Friday surprise.

Trim & Fold the Chard

Gather the cleaned leaves together. Cut off and discard any browned or damaged sections of the stems.

Some bunches will be relatively clean and easy—just chop off the bottom of the stems and move along. Other times, you'll have a bunch with some browning up the stems that need to be "shaved" off and discarded so you have pristine stems ready to cook.

After the mass trimming, work with one leaf at a time for the best results.

Take a chard leaf, fold it in half lengthwise, and lay it in front of you.

This isn't an exact science, nor is it rocket science—you're just folding the leaf along its natural center, putting the stem/rib facing one way and the edges of the leaf the other way.

Watch the video: The Accidental Locavore - All About Zucchini (December 2021).