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In that case, here's my (Julia's) favorite REC: Swiss Chard Gratin

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Joined: Dec 14, 2005


Posted to Thread #3707 at 2:54 am on Sep 28, 2006


Blettes Gratinees

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume II by Julia Child and Simone Beck.

This way of serving chard brings out its special flavor, and makes it a most attractive accompaniment to roast beef or chicken. Here both the long white stems and the large green leaves are used, but they are cooked separately before being combined.

For 6 to 8 servings.

About 10 large stalks (2 bunches) fresh chard
1/4 cup flour
1 cup cold water and 2 cups hot water
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. butter

Cut the green part of the leaves off the white of the stalk that runs up the center of the leaves. Wash leaves and set aside. Trim off any discolored bits and ends, wash the white stalks thoroughly, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (makes about 8 cups).

Place flour in a 2-1/2 quart saucepan. Beating with a wire whip, gradually blend in the cold water to make a smooth mixture. Beat in the hot water, salt and lemon juice and bring to the simmer, stirring.

Add chard stalks and simmer about 30 minutes or until they are very tender, stirring occasionally, and adding a little more water, if necessary, to prevent scorching. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Add milk, if necessary, to make 2 cups. (You will note that the chard stalks acquire a subtle flavor when finally tender, and that they leave a sticky film on the bottom of the pan.

While the stalks are simmering, drop the leaves into a large pan of boiling salted water, bring back to the boil, and boil uncovered for 5 to 6 minutes until the leaves are fairly tender. Drain, refresh in cold water, squeeze dry a handful at a time, and chop. You will have almost 2 cups; mix them into the cooked stalks.

Butter a 5- to 6-cup baking dish about 2 inches deep Blend the egg yolk and cream in the saucepan with a wire whip, then gradually blend in the stalk-cooking liquid. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer 1 minute. Correct seasoning. Spoon a layer into the bottom of the baking dish.

Taste the cooked stalks and leaves, and season if necessary. Spread half in the dish, spread on half the sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with the remaining chard, sauce and cheese, and top with the butter, cut into dots. (May be completed a day before serving; cover with plastic and refrigerate.

If chard is still warm, set under a slow broiler until just beginning to bubble and top is nicely browned. If cold, set in upper third of preheated 375-degree oven for about 30 minutes just until bubbling hot and top has browned.

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