(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish.
Bright Light or Rainbow chard is the variety with multicolored stems that are often
smaller and more tender than the big silver leaf or red-leafed chard. It works
beautifully here because of those narrow stems, but any variety can be used, of
course. Other greens can go in with the chard as well, such as quelites, nettles,
sorrel and spinach. Serve this gratin as a vegetarian main course or as a side
2 pounds chard, including half of the stems
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons chopped dill or parsley
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk or cream or a mixture of cream and stock
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
- Separate the leaves and chard stems. Wash the leaves in plenty of water,
then coarsely chop them. Trim the ragged edges off the stems, wash them well,
then dice them into small pieces.
- Melt half the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and chard stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has begun to brown a bit, about 20 minutes. Add the chard leaves, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and cook until they’re wilted and tender, another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish. Melt half the remaining butter in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs, garlic, and dill. Cook, stirring for about a minute, then scrape the crumbs into a bowl and return the pan to the heat.
- Melt the last tablespoon of butter, stir in the flour, then whisk in the milk.
Simmer for 5 minutes, season with ½ teaspoon salt, and add to the chard
mixture. Add the cheese, then taste the mixture, correct for salt, and season with
- Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and cover with the bread crumbs.
Bake until heated through and golden on the surface, about 25 minutes. Let
settle a few minutes before serving.
We didn’t have the goat cheese (darn! I bet it’s even better with it!), so we used parmesan. It was so yummy! Our little ones liked it too.