Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business, Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
In Northern Italy, cooks chop up leftover cooked vegetables, mix them with some egg, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano cheese and garlic, then shape the mix into patties that are fried in olive oil. I learned about these little fritters, called subrich in the Piemontese dialect, from the sadly out-of-print cookbook called Red, White, & Greens by Faith Willinger, an American writer married to an Italian and living in Florence.
The subrich (soo-brick) technique works with lots of different vegetables, but I think leafy greens, leftover or not, make the best fritters. You can make these with curly kale—or even collard, turnip, or mustard greens, but I like the taste of what’s usually called lacinato or Tuscan kale, cavolo nero (black cabbage) in Italian.
Instead of using leftover cooked greens, I prefer to cook them in a big pot of well-salted water, then chop them up to make the fritter mix. I pan fry them in olive oil until they get brown and crispy. Make a batch and impress anyone who takes a bite. Make a few more and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing this forever.
Makes 10-12 fritters.
1 bunch kale (red, green, or lacinato)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs (more if needed)*
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil for pan frying
*Save the ends of loaves before they mold, cut into cubes, spread on a sheet pan, and let dry on the counter for a few days. Grind into rough breadcrumbs in a food processor.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil, add kale, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove, drain, squeeze to remove as much water as possible, and chop into roughly 1/4 inch pieces. Combine kale, garlic, cheese, salt and bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 eggs, mix well, and try to form a small ball with a couple of tablespoons of the mixture. If the mixture doesn’t hold together, add the other egg. If it seems a little wet, add more breadcrumbs.
Use enough of the extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of a heavy skillet, then heat over medium until the oil begins to shimmer, about 1 minute. Use two spoons to form roughly walnut-sized fritters, gently slide them into the oil and flatten carefully. Cook as many as will fit into the skillet without crowding; add more oil between batches if needed. Cook until brown, flip and brown the other side. Sprinkle with coarse salt and eat hot.