Chard Gratin

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch chard (Rainbow, red, or Swiss)
1 medium brown onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and de-germed
2 ounces cream sherry or Marsala
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons fresh thyme (or other herb of your choice)
1/2 cup homemade bread crumbs (or store bought)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more as needed
Optional: 2-4 tablespoons of grated cheese such as Gruyere, or Romano

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 400°F.    

Use a sharp knife to cut the chard leaves away from the stems. Stack the leaves and roll up from the bottom the top and slice across the roll into half-inch strips. Cut across the strips to roughly chop the leaves. Wash well and drain in a colander.

Cut the stems into ¼ inch pieces and rinse.

Peel and dice the onion into 1/4 inch pieces.

Mince the garlic.

Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to film the bottom of the pan. When hot, add the onions and chard stems and sauté until softened and starting to color. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add most of the sherry or Marsala to the pan and cook until the pan is almost dry, around 80 percent. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of the herbs. Transfer these vegetables to a lightly oiled 10-inch gratin dish and spread evenly. There should be a layer around a half-inch thick or a little more.

Add a little more oil to the same pan and sauté the greens to wilt them. Add a splash of sherry or Marsala to the pan, a dash of salt and pepper and a pinch more of the herbs. When softened, transfer the greens to the dish with the stems, and level out a little if need be. Use tongs for this so any excess liquid remains in the pan and doesn’t make the dish soggy.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the bread crumbs, add some salt and pepper and the remaining herbs, and toss well to be sure all the crumbs are moistened with oil. If you are using the cheese, this is the time to layer it into the dish on top of the chard. If not, just go ahead and sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the surface of the gratin.

Place the gratin in the oven and cook until the crumbs are golden.

Serve this dish hot, warm, or room temperature.

CHEF NOTES: I use chard gratin cold in sandwiches served in a soft roll, or heat it up and add some prosciutto and sweet hot mustard. I have also tossed it into scrambled eggs. If you wish, you can vary the dish by adding mushrooms to the onion and stem mixture. If you have some leftover cooked winter squash, try adding it into the greens before adding them into the gratin. Slivers of olive are a nice touch as well.

YIELD: Serves 4

SOURCE: Chef Andrew E Cohen