But if you and your kitchen clean-up partner appreciate a delicious gratin AND the conviviality of side-by-side clean-up at meal's end, this is your recipe.
You see, this Swiss chard gratin is a wonderful fall or winter side dish but it creates a PILE of dishes: a large skillet, a large pot, a colander, a lemon press, a microplane, a food processor for the bread crumbs and a bowl for mixing. YIKES!
Still, I must say that this is one of the most satisfying vegetable dishes I've made in a long while. It's a definite keeper.
LANGUAGE NOTES ... What IS silverbeet, I've wondered, when seeing blog-sodic rhapsodies? Aha. It's what I call Swiss chard. But it's also "perpetual spinach" and mangold. Beautiful names, all, for a leafy green of extraordinary beauty. For linguists and gardeners, here's more information.
NUTRITION NOTES ... As gratins go, this one is relatively healthful, with small portions of butter, cream and cheese. It racks up 2 or 3 Weight Watchers points (see detail below) and ventures into low-carb territory with a sprinkling (vs generous crust) of bread crumbs.
INSPIRATION ... came from Ellen at Chronicles of a Curious Cook. Thanks, Ellen!
NEXT TIME ...
- A starting pound of Swiss chard didn't come close to filling my make-shift gratin dish (a quiche pan) so I used individual serving dishes -- but then there was only enough for three. Consider doubling or tripling a bunch for planned-overs. (Ellen's recipe called for 3 pounds of chard.)
- I'd definitely consider this make-ahead gratin for a fall dinner party, probably served in individual 1/2 cup ramekins placed directly on the plates.
- It would also be a delicious contribution to a Thanksgiving table.
SWISS CHARD GRATIN
See Chronicles of a Curious Cook's inspiring version
Hands-on time: 55 minutes
Time to table: 1 hr 15 minutes (can be made ahead)
Weight Watchers 2 or 3 points per serving (see NUTRITION ESTIMATES for detail)
NetCarb 9 or 14 per serving (ditto)
NOTE: I've modified the preparation steps for my own "keep moving" style so they may read a little disjointed. There are four basic steps: (1) cook the stems in a floured water (2) meanwhile flash cook the greens (3) then combine and top with bread crumbs and cheese (4) and bake for 15 minutes.
Salted water (for the greens)
1 cup water (for the stems)
1 tablespoon flour
1 pound Swiss chard
Zest of a 1/2 a lemon (save rest for greens)
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon half 'n' half
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup bread crumbs (this should be enough for 2x or 3x the recipe)
1/2 cup grated cheese (ditto re quantity, I used Romano, Parmesan would be great)
Bring a big pot of salted water to boil (for the greens).
Place 1 cup water in a skillet, sprinkle with flour and whisk in. Wash the Swiss chard stems (set aside the greens for the moment), cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to skillet along with the lemon zest, lemon juice and salt to taste. Let simmer til cooked, stirring occasionally, about 20 - 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash the greens very well and tear into bite-size pieces. Drop into big pot of boiling water and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, until soft but still bright green (I suspect the actual time may vary widely depending on the tenderness of the greens). When done, transfer to a colander and let drain very well, squeezing to press out liquid if needed. Return greens to the hot pot. Stir in butter, lemon zest and season to taste. Stir in cooked stems. Season to taste. Transfer to greased gratin dish or individual gratin dishes. [Make ahead this far.]
Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over top. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, longer if coming from refrigerator or even room temperature.
SERVING 4: 167 Cal (41% from Fat, 21% from Protein, 38% from Carb); 9 g Protein; 8 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 17 g Carb; 3 g Fiber; NetCarb14; 227 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 554 mg Sodium; 20 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points
SERVING 8 (2X everything except bread crumbs & cheese) Per Serving: 114 Cal (43% from Fat, 19% from Protein, 38% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 6 g Tot Fat; 3 g Sat Fat; 11 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb 9; 146 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 409 mg Sodium; 15 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points
SHORTHAND RECIPE ...
SWISS CHARD GRATIN For 2lb chard, sauté chopped stems in 2c water, 2T flour, zest of ½ a lemon, juice of lemon, salt. Cook greens in salted water. Combine w 2T butter, 2T h&h, zest ½ lemon, S&P. Gratin dishes, top w ½ c bread crumbs, ½ c cheese. Bake 425F 15min VV06 8=W2