Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cauliflower, Chard and Leek Gratin

Gazing at my garden today I realized I had Swiss Chard ready to harvest. A glance at the veggie drawer in my fridge revealed cauliflower, leek and scallions. Some dish ought to be doable from these ingredients, I thought. A quick Google search turned up this recipe from a site called Small Farm Central.

I had to make do with the cheese on hand; some might consider a package of pre-shredded “Mexican blend” cheese to be a poor substitute for Grana Padano and Parmesan, but it is what it is. By the way, instead of steaming the cauliflower, I nuked it in a covered Pyrex bowl for six minutes.

Here is the recipe as it appears on the Small Farm Central site:

1 medium head of cauliflower, florets only
1 bunch of chard, cleaned, stem removed and chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and chopped
1/4 cup chopped shallot
1 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. flour
1/4 cup cream
1-3/4 cup 2 percent milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Steam the cauliflower until tender crisp, about 10 minutes. Set aside.Heat the olive oil in a large pan, saute the leek and shallot for a few minutes until just starting to turn golden. Add the chard and saute until just wilted.Mix with the cauliflower in a roasting pan.

Make the bechamel. Start by melting the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until it begins to turn golden and smells "nutty" and no longer like raw flour. Add the cream and milk slowly, whisking as you go to keep it smooth. Add the nutmeg. Whisk over low heat until it thickens. Add the Grana Padano cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce evenly over the cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until the top turns golden and it is heated through. You can also do this with broccoli.

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