I still can’t believe how much Swiss chard burst forth from the seeds I planted all those months ago. It is magic; it is amazing. But, after two months of continuous bounty, it is also very much a lot of Swiss chard.
I’d been experimenting all week with tostadas—which, in my mind, is anything baked on top of a tortilla. On Monday, I made tostadas de nopales from the prickly pear pads that had come in my CSA share—a delightful reminder of the desert’s natural bounty. Two corn tortillas (Ezikel Sprouted Corn); a swash of enchilada sauce (homemade); a scoop of black beans (organic, from a can); diced nopal pads, plus garlic, salt and pepper, and a hearty sprinkle of mozzarella. Thirty minutes in a hot oven and the tortilla became crispy, the perfect plate for the melty beans and gooey veggies.
But what happens when I become obsessed with a particular dish is that I do it, again and again. And again and again, trying all the possibilities, all the combinations that might cohere from a given premise. And this week was the week of the tostada.
By Thursday, most of my CSA share had disappeared, leaving behind a solitary sweet potato—and, of course, there was Swiss chard. I thought my tostada streak had come to an end. But then! Then I turned to the Internet and then, inspiration struck. Evidently sweet potato tacos are a thing—and, evidently, so is Swiss chard pesto. Combined with a crispy corn tortilla and baked black beans, it would be the toast of the tostada week.
Pesto is a sauce usually made by mixing up basil, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. But the word pesto means literally anything that’s been pounded; the word comes from the same derivation that gives us pestle, as in mortar and pestle—which was, indeed, the tool originally used to make pesto.
Pound my Swiss chard I did not—I pulled out my food processor and threw in a handful of cooked chard (I sauted it, but you can also blanch), a generous pour of olive oil, walnuts (because they are cheaper than pine nuts and also they happened to be in my cabinet), lemon juice, and three cloves of garlic. A few minutes of spinning and I was scooping it out with a spoon.
Meanwhile, I’d diced the sweet potato and roasted it, along with two corn tortillas, each with a scoop of black beans. When the tortillas were crispy and the sweet potato slightly blackened, I scooped the whole thing together—beans then sweet potato then a giant scoop of Swiss chard pesto.
On Friday night, I made Tostada de Pesto for two, and added a sliced avocado to the mix. (Friday should have some ceremony, after all.) On Tuesday, when the kale proliferated throughout the CSA, I blanched that and made pesto and, yes, more tostadas. On Wednesday, I fried two eggs on top of the leftover kale pesto, inspired by the Monster Eggs from Jackie’s Happy Plate.