I love this easy chard gratin, which is just packed full of Swiss chard and turnip greens and spinach! The greens taste almost creamy even though there is no cream in this recipe, and the crispy breadcrumb topping provides an excellent contrast to the soft greens. This will take a little while in the oven, but you can make it in one oven-safe skillet and have only one pot to clean.
Spring farmer’s markets are all about the greens! Actually, summer and fall farmer’s markets are all full of greens too, though the offerings will be more balanced with other fruits and vegetables. And of course you’ll see the heartier greens at winter farmer’s markets. Let’s face it, if you are shopping at local farms, you are going to see a lot of greens, and, if you are doing a CSA, you are guaranteed to be drowning in them frequently. Bunches of kale and chard. The tops of radishes and beets and turnips. Bags of spinach. So many greens!
That’s why it’s important to have a few recipes you can pull out to use up a mound of them. Something beyond salads and simple sautes. Not that I don’t love mixed greens salads (especially with the baby chard and baby kale!) or a quick saute to go with my main dish, but it’s nice to mix it up don’t you think?
And certainly when I want to cook a vegetable, I often think of gratins. I have a whole pile of them here on the site! Sometimes wintery gratins like my Cauliflower Gratin with Horseradish Sauce or my Easy Brussels Sprouts Gratin, but I also love ones that work as summer sides, like my Sunny Yellow Squash and Potato Gratin. In fact, I love gratins so much I made a little collection of all my gratins. Have a vegetable and I might just have a gratin for that vegetable. (Tomato gratin is coming soon!) Have a vegetable and I don’t have a gratin? I am open to gratin-y requests. 🙂
For my gratin here today, I took inspiration from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. I really like how she kept the greens in front in the recipe by not drowning them in cream and cheese, instead just using a little flour and milk. My waistline also likes this! However, I did want to streamline the process a bit by steaming the greens right in my skillet, and then – when I’m not making this for photos – just slipping the skillet right in the oven. One baking pan and one skillet is the way to go. And I decided to make the most of use of my local farms by including a mixture of some of the greens I found when I stopped by – Swiss chard, turnip greens, and spinach. I also thought that a little garlic and a handful or two of parmesan finished off the dish nicely. I hope you think so too!
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 1½ lbs greens - swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, kale, spinach
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp flour
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 oz shredded parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and toss it with the bread crumbs. Spread out the bread crumbs on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
- Wash the greens you are using well to make sure to rinse off all the dirt. For chard, fold each leaf in half and stem the chard, cutting the stem off of the leaves. Cut the leaves into ½ inch slices and also chop up the top half of the stem (discarding the tough bottom part). Reserve the chopped chard stems for the next step. For the rest of the greens, cut off the stems if they are long and then cut the leaves in ½ inch slices.
- In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over low heat. Add the reserved chard stems, shallots, garlic, and salt. Gently saute the onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped greens, cover the skillet and steam for 15 minutes, or until the greens are tender and wilted.
- Add the flour to the skillet and stir to combine. Then pour the milk over and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the milk.
- If you are using an oven safe skillet, leave the greens in the pan. If not, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Either way top the greens with the toasted bread crumbs and then sprinkle the parmesan on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned and bubbling.
If you don't have any bread to make fresh breadcrumbs, use 1 cup dried bread crumbs.
I used one bunch of swiss chard, one bunch of white turnip greens, and one bunch of baby spinach greens.
You will have a very big pile of chopped greens when you are done. Don't worry, it will all cook down!
For everyday dinners I use a large oven-safe skillet for the gratin and move it directly from the stove top to the oven. For company I like to use my Bennington Potters Oval Casserole Dish.