Cream, butter, parmigiano-reggiano. Is there anyone who doesn’t like what these ingredients can do for a dish? Didn’t I just do a gratin with my new friend the cardoon? Well, yes I did, but it is the holiday season and I’m throwing caution to the wind and doing another gratin. We eat a lot of winter greens, usually just sauteed with a little olive oil and garlic. I’d never though of doing chard this way and it was a tasty surprise.
Swiss Chard Gratin
1/4 cup flour
1 stick butter
2 cups milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
Melt butter over medium heat, add butter and stir for about 3 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups of cold milk, a little at a time. When the sauce has turned into a smooth paste, add salt and black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Continue to whisk the sauce constantly until it is thick, about 15 minutes.
1 pound swiss chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
Wash chard in several changes of water. Trim the leaves from the white stems. Roll leaves up and slice into ribbons. Trim the base off the stems and cut into 2 inch pieces. Blanch the stems in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes and drain. Wilt the greens in a large saute pan with the olive oil with the garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. While the greens are still bright green, place in a colander.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub a large baking dish with butter. Layer the greens in the dish and then the stems. Ladle the bechamel sauce over and add a sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg. Top with grated parmigiano-reggiano. Bake until gratin is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes.