We ate a lot of spinach growning up (well, I didn’t because I pretty much didn’t eat anything). Beyond that, it was iceberg, romaine, and maybe butter lettuce. This was the extent of my leafy green knowledge until the last ten years or so. Things like chard and kale sounded like health food and I wanted nothing to do with them.
I’ve changed my tune and these veggies are some of my current favorites. Sure, you can wilt them like spinach, which is quick, easy, and delicious but, there are some other great things to turn you on to these healthy leaves.
Swiss Chard Gratin is fantastic! Think creamed spinach with a crunchy topping. I also love the idea of a raw kale salad. Finely chop the kale, make a simple vinaigrette with lemon juice, chili flakes, s&p, and great olive oil. Dress the kale 20-30 minutes before eating then top it with some toasted breadcrumbs. Yum!
Here is my recipe from New Flavors for Vegetables for Swiss Chard Gratin….enjoy!
Swiss Chard Gratin
2 teaspoon minced marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for the pan
3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 bunches fresh Swiss chard, stems removed and minced, leaves cut into bite-size pieces
1½ tablespoons flour
½ cup milk
½ cup Heavy cream
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup freshly grated Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter four 1-cup ramekins or small baking dishes.
Place the marjoram and thyme in a bowl with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss well. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add to the crumb mixture. Stir well and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and ½ cup of the minced chard stems (reserving the rest for another use) with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 5-6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the chard leaves, and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook until the leaves just begin to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the leaves are just wilted and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir in the flour. Cook, whisking, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly, until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until thickened, 1- 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Add the nutmeg and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Add the Gruyère and stir until smooth. Add the chard mixture and stir well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared ramekins.
Sprinkle the herbed breadcrumbs over the chard. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crumbs are lightly browned and the chard mixture is warm and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 servings (Jodi L.)