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Lentil latkes with chard yogurt sauce

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer
Lentil latkes with chard yogurt sauce
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times )

Chard yogurt sauce

1

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chard leaves and blanch just until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove the leaves to an ice bath to chill, then drain and squeeze to remove excess water. Chop the leaves.

2

In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, garlic and salt. Stir in the chard. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if desired. This makes a generous cup of sauce.

Lentil latkes

1

In a saucepan, combine the lentils and the water and bring to a boil, stirring a few times. Partially cover and cook over low heat until the lentils are soft, about 15 minutes, stirring only 2 to 3 times. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lentils to a large bowl, leaving the liquid in the pan. Measure cooking liquid — you will need 3/4 cup; add hot water if necessary. Add the bulgur to the liquid and mix well. Transfer the bulgur to the bowl of lentils and mix well. Set aside to cool until lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

2

Add the onion, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika and pepper flakes to the lentil mixture. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, then add the egg and mix well.

3

To make small latkes, take 1 tablespoon-size spoonfuls and flatten them between your palms to make smooth patties about 1 1/4 to 1½ inches. To make larger latkes, use 2 tablespoons of mixture and flatten to 2-inch patties. Put the patties on a plate.

4

Heat a thin film of olive oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat until hot. The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when you touch it with the edge of a patty. Add enough patties to make one layer, allowing room to turn them over. Fry them until browned on each side; small ones take 1½ to 2 minutes per side, and larger ones take 3 minutes on first side, and slightly less on the second side. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Wipe the pan if necessary, add additional oil, and repeat until all the latkes are fried.

5

Serve the latkes hot or warm, with chard garlic sauce and garnished, if desired, with pepper flakes.


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