We’ve been enjoying a windfall of gorgeous beets in our CSA box, and I’ve started making pasta with blanched beet greens and stems to use up every bit of the vegetable. With pasta, beet greens and stems as the constant, each week I change up the additions; about a month ago, I added red wine, anchovies and diced and peeled eggplant to rave reviews from the family. More recently, I paired the greens and pasta with diced apple, Dijon, and chopped walnuts which was the inspiration for this gratin. This is lovely with roasted meat or fish, such as pork or salmon. —gingerroot
5 to 6
1 big bunch of beet greens with stems (save the beets for another use - like beet cake!)
to 12 bunches of some other kind of winter greens, such as collards, kale, Swiss chard, or beet greens (you could even use some dandelion greens) stems removed
1 1/2 tablespoons
extra virgin olive oil
onion, peeled and finely chopped
large garlic clove, minced
Fuji apple, cored and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons
grated gruyere cheese
finely chopped walnuts
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 400° F. Get an ice bath ready in a large heat-proof bowl.
Separate long stems from beet greens. Wash all greens thoroughly (seriously, look for the dirt!) and place in a colander.
Blanch greens in a large pot of salted boiling water in batches, starting with beet stems or a tougher green like collards or larger leaves and cook accordingly (roughly 2 minutes for stems or tougher leaves, about a minute for smaller, more tender leaves). Remove stems or greens with tongs in batches and plunge into ice bath. Repeat until all greens are blanched, adding more ice to the ice bath if necessary.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sauté for a minute or two before adding garlic. Stir and cook for another minute before adding diced apple. Cook a few minutes more until onion is translucent, apple starts to release juices and mixture is fragrant.
Add vermouth and cook, stirring until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Add Dijon, Worcestershire, and heavy cream, stirring between additions. After the cream, taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Add a few grinds of black pepper. Remove pan from heat.
While apple-cream mixture is cooling, with clean hands, remove greens by the handful from ice bath and thoroughly squeeze out water. Squeeze beet stems separately. Chop squeezed greens and beet stems.
Ladle enough apple-onion-cream mixture into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate to just cover the bottom.
Arrange chopped greens in pie plate, using fingers to slightly fluff and unfurl compacted greens. Evenly spread out apple-onion-cream mixture (solids first and top entire mixture with liquid) on top of greens. Top with chopped walnuts and finally gruyere cheese. Press down on walnuts and cheese with the back of a spoon.
Place pie dish on a baking sheet and bake gratin for 20 to 22 minutes, until bubbling and top is golden. Allow gratin to cool a bit before serving. Enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.