Swiss chard stems are so versatile they can be treated like a separate vegetable. If you’ve already used the Swiss chard leaves for another recipe, you can make this recipe with just the stems. Caramelize some onions and add them in place of the chard leaves.
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 15 Swiss chard leaves
- 2 cups cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Gruyère
- 1 cup Parmesan, divided
- 1 cup homemade bread crumbs or panko
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Prepare the Swiss chard: separate the Swiss chard leaves from the stems. Slice the stems into 3- to 4-inch pieces, and thinly slice the leaves into strips. Set aside the leaves.
Fill a bowl with ice water. Bring a heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt to the water. Blanch the chard stems in the boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the stems are tender but still retain their structure. Remove and shock in a bath of ice water. After 2 minutes, remove, drain, and place on a plate lined with an absorbent kitchen towel to dry.
Make the gratin: heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add canola oil and sweat the garlic and shallots for 3 minutes. Add the Swiss chard leaves and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, or until wilted. Set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring cream to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook until cream is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the Gruyère and 1/2 cup Parmesan, stirring constantly until combined. Remove from heat.
Butter the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch casserole dish and season lightly with salt. Combine the remaining Parmesan with bread crumbs. Lay the sautéed chard leaves on the bottom. Layer the Swiss chard stems on top. Pour over just enough cream to cover, making sure that the cream mixture is dispersed evenly throughout the dish. Top with the bread crumb mixture. Place the cold cubed butter on top and bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.