Where the spice rack meets the crisper.
Furikake is flavor. Traditionally, it has dried fish, sesame seeds, seaweed, puffed rice, and some other spices (including MSG). In other words — pure umami.
Steamed chard, on the other hand, doesn’t have a ton of umami flavor. It’s a palate cleanser, a clean and crisp bed for a lusty short rib. And yet. If you roast chard to a nanometer crispness, this light, elegant green gains a bit of swagger.
The roasting brings out some musty notes, a taste like what Murakami calls in 1Q84, something you might find “way in the back of a normally unopened drawer.” Nutmeg adds a spicy funk and sunflower seeds add a bass-note crunch. It’s a fine umami vehicle, more farm-to-table than Japanese, but delicious all the same.
Put this on your noodles or rice, as furikake is traditionally used, or try it in other settings. On a salad as vegan Bacos. On some shortbread for savory cocktail cookies. Or in a sandwich as sort of dry pesto.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and pat dry 5-7 leaves of stemmed chard. Lay them on a cookie sheet and salt. Turn off oven and place leaves inside.
Leave in the oven until completely dry, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and crinkle leaves in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds, and a couple swipes of freshly grated nutmeg.