You can't go wrong serving a vegetable gratin this time of year. My only complaint is that most recipes serve up to a dozen folks, and we are a family of two. So I adapted my gratin recipe to make about four servings, enough for leftovers. Healing from a hip injury, I streamlined the cooking method by buying pre-washed packaged kale and -- gasp -- cooking it in the microwave. —Lizthechef
Test Kitchen Notes
The crunchy topping against the cheesy-coated kale makes this is an ideal side dish on a chilly evening -- or any evening, for that matter. Be bold with your pinches of nutmeg and cayenne if you prefer a bit more oomph, and enjoy this classic comfort food with a new twist. —figgypudding
Heat the milk, using a glass measuring cup, for 1 minute on high in the microwave.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent but not browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour, stirring until combined, and then whisk in the hot milk. Whisk sauce until it thickens and will coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add the nutmeg and cayenne. Stir, turn off the heat, and then stir in the Gruyère until melted and combined.
Add the kale, salt, and pepper to the béchamel. Turn the heat back on and cook until the kale begins to just wilt, about 3 minutes.
Turn everything into an 8-inch glass baking dish or similarly sized gratin dish. Combine the panko and Parmesan, then sprinkle over the gratin. Dust with a pinch of paprika and dot with butter.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbling.