Winter Greens and Apple Gratin

October 7, 2014

Author Notes: 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

Serves: 5 to 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 min


  • 1 1 big bunch of beet greens with stems (save the beets for another use - like beet cake!)
  • 1 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
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Get an ice bath ready in a large heat-proof bowl.
  2. Separate long stems from beet greens. Wash all greens thoroughly (seriously, look for the dirt!) and place in a colander.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add vermouth and cook, stirring until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Ladle enough apple-onion-cream mixture into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate to just cover the bottom.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

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Reviews (2) Questions (1)

2 Reviews

Jennifer February 20, 2017
Could something without alcohol be substituted for the vermouth? I'm giving a dinner party and various guests avoid alcohol (for health and/or religious reasons). I know most of alcohol cooks off, but I try to respect my guests' restrictions (which is why most of my usual gratins are off limits--they tend to have bread crumbs or flour, and I also have GF guests).
Author Comment
gingerroot February 20, 2017
Hi Jennifer! You could use something like sparkling apple cider or just vegetable broth. Since it is only 1/4 cup I'm guessing the finished results would be very similar. I've actually never tried this recipe using those substitutions so let me know how it turns out!