Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Swiss Chard Gratin (Page 543)


  • Date: Thursday, November 20, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B+

Gratin is a word that translates to Deliciousness in my head. So Potatoes au Gratin reads to me as Potatoes au Deliciousness. I thoroughly enjoy the breadcrumb (and often cheesy) topping that makes a dish au gratin. However, Swiss Chard is a phrase that translates in my head to Bad. I am not a fan of bitter greens and chard is pretty high on my list of foods that I don't love. I eat it, sure, but I never particularly enjoy it. When I saw this dish in The Book the title read to me as Bad Deliciousness, and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Would the swiss chard make it nasty? Would the gratin topping overpower the nastiness and make it delicious? In the battle between deliciousness and badness, who would win? This past week, I decided to finally find out.

The verdict: the deliciousness edged out the badness to produce a dish that was pretty darn good.

To make this dish I started by assembling what would be the delicious, delicious topping. I made some fresh bread crumbs, grated some Gruyere cheese and then tossed them together with melted butter, chopped garlic, chopped chives, grated nutmeg, salt and pepper. Does that not sound delicious? I set that aside and made a sauce from chicken stock and heavy cream that was thickened with a roux. I then cooked onion, chard, and spinach together until the greens were wilted, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. I drained the veggies thoroughly before tossing them with the cream sauce. They then went in a buttered dish, were covered with the topping mixture, and baked in the oven until the topping was brown and the whole thing bubbled. Since I was unsure about how the dish would be, I cut the recipe in half, and baked it in a pie plate (as you can see above), but the whole recipe makes enough for a 12-inch gratin dish. The end result here was very tasty. The topping could not have been better. It was cheesy, crispy, garlicky, and flavorful. Definitely a winning topping. I expected that, but what I didn't expect was that I liked the vegetable layer too. The bitterness of the chard was tempered by the milder spinach, forming a mixture of greens that was quite tasty. There were too many greens however for the amount of cream sauce. If I made this again, I would increase the amount of sauce a bit. Other than that, it was very tasty. This is certainly not a light dish, so if you are looking for your vegetables to be healthy, you might want to look elsewhere. But if your top priority is deliciousness, this is a pretty good preparation for greens.

Here is the recipe.

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