I have a pile of recipes from the Greenmarket tucked in a corner of my bookshelf. A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon one from 2009 at the same time my fridge was filled with kale and collard greens from my CSA. Since then I’ve been hoping for more kale every week at CSA pick-up. This casserole (I like to call it a kale gratin) is fantastic and so delicious. Better after a day in the fridge and re-heated, as the flavors meld. I won’t stop making this until the late fall greens stop!
Casserole of Late Fall Greens
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
2 1/2 ounces of bacon (about 3 strips)
2 cups of cooked winter greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale, broccoli raab, etc.)
1/3 cup freshly grated hard cheese (cow’s or sheep’s milk would be best, I use Pecorino)
1. Prepare and cook the greens, removing any tough stems, and roughly chop. (To yield 2 cups cooked you will need 1 pound of spinach or broccoli raab, 1 3/4 pounds of swiss chard, or 1 1/4 pounds of kale.) Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook until the greens are tender. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 4 cup shallow gratin dish. Toss together the breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of melted butter with a pinch of kosher salt and little ground pepper and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat and then turn down the heat and simmer vigorously until the cream is reduced to about 3/4 cup. Take the pan off the heat, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Let the cream cool slightly and then season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
4. In a large skillet, cook the bacon until crisped and browned. Drain on a paper towel and remove almost all of the excess fat from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and return the pan to the heat. Add the cooked greens with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Evenly spread the warmed greens in the gratin dish.
5. Crumble the bacon over the greens. Sprinkle on the cheese. Pour the seasoned cream over the greens/bacon/cheese and top with the bread crumbs. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
From the 100-Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change, via NYC Greenmarket Recipe Series