Serves 4 to 6
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground veal
1 3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, minced
We’re assuming you have salt and extra-virgin olive oil. If not, be sure to add those to your list, too.
1. Wash and chop: Wash and dry the chard and remove the stems from the leaves. Then chop the onion and two of the cloves of garlic. Mince the third clove and set it aside from the other two.
2. Make the salad dressing: Zest and juice the lemon. Combine the juice (you should have about 2 1/2 tablespoons), 1 teaspoon of the zest, and a few generous pinches of salt in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in a 1/4 cup of olive oil and set the dressing aside.
3. Brown the onions: Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium sauté pan, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion has begun to soften and lightly caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the 2 cloves of chopped garlic and continue to cook until both the onion and garlic are soft and golden brown (be careful not to burn the garlic), about another 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. Shape the meatballs: Toast 1/4 cup of the breadcrumbs in a dry pan until they’re crisp and golden brown; set them aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, ground veal, toasted breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, Worcerstershire sauce, and mayonnaise. Combine everything thoroughly — but gently — using two forks, being careful not to over-mix. Using your hands, gently work in the egg and the browned onions and garlic, until just combined. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs.
5. Cook the meatballs: Brown the meatballs in a large frying pan coated with a little olive oil over medium-high heat. When they’re nicely browned, nestle them snugly into a large baking dish and cover with foil. Bake the meatballs in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until their internal temperature reaches about 145° F.
6. Shred the chard: While the meatballs are baking, continue to work on the salad. Finely chop the chard stems and set them aside, then stack a few of the leaves on top of each other, roll them like a cigar, and slice into thin ribbons, about an 1/8-inch wide. Repeat until all of the leaves are shredded.
6. Toast the breadcrumbs: Warm a 1/4 cup olive oil in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until they are crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes — be careful not to burn them! Stir in the remaining clove of minced garlic and let them toast for another minute, then remove from the heat.
7. Serve and enjoy: Once the meatballs are out of the oven, put the chard stems and leaves into a large bowl and toss gently with the remaining Parmesan cheese and about 2/3 of the lemon dressing. Taste and add more dressing, if you like. Toss in the toasted breadcrumbs and serve immediately, alongside the hot meatballs.