I’m not sure I’ve ever met a potato dish I don’t like. This dish came about when I decided to play favorites and combine elements of two classics – potatoes with chard and gratineed potatoes. Unlike traditional gratins, there’s just enough cream here to lightly cloak the potatoes and chard without weighing them down. And I’m never one to miss an opportunity to start a potato dish by rendering pancetta – or use a cast-iron skillet so my dinner can go from oven to table. This is one of those nifty recipes to have up your sleeve for any number of occasions: a weeknight entrée, a side dish for your holiday dinner, or the main event at a weekend brunch. Leftovers are pretty fantastic topped with a crispy fried egg and Sriracha. —EmilyC
4 to 6 side-dish servings
Yukon Gold potatoes (about 6 large), peeled and sliced into ¼” thick rounds
kosher salt, to taste
pancetta, finely diced
thinly sliced shallots, from about 1 or 2 large shallots
fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
large pinch of red pepper flakes
large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
large bunches of Swiss chard (about 1 pound)
finely grated lemon zest, from one small lemon
heavy cream (or a few tablespoons more, as needed)
shredded aged cheddar (I used Cabot Clothbound) or gruyère
In a pot, combine the potatoes with water to cover by 1 inch. Generously salt the water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and let cool.
To prep the chard, separate the chard leaves from the stems. Stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them like a cigar, and cut them crosswise into ½-inch ribbons. (Note: I prefer this dish texturally without the chard stems; you can reserve them for another use, such as the Genius Grilled Chard Stems recipe on this site.)
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the chard. In a 10 to 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook the pancetta in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderate heat until it's starting to render its fat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallots, thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes, and continue cooking until the shallots start to soften, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chard leaves, tossing to coat with the oil. (You may have to add the leaves in several batches and wait for them to wilt before adding more.) Sauté the chard leaves until they’re crisp-tender, another 3 to 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Add the cream. Lower heat, and continue cooking until the chard leaves are completely tender. Season to taste with salt and finely grated lemon zest.
Add the cooked potatoes to the skillet with the chard; turn off the heat under the skillet. Gently fold the potatoes and chard together so they’re both coated with cream (don’t worry if some of the potatoes break apart in the process). Add another tablespoon or two of cream if the mixture looks dry. Spread the mixture so it's evenly distributed in the skillet. (Note: the dish can be prepared up to this point and set aside, covered, at room temperature for a few hours before baking.)
To finish the dish, mix the panko with a few teaspoons of olive oil and mix well to evenly coat, then mix together with the shredded cheese. Top the potatoes and chard with the panko and shredded cheese mixture and slide the skillet into the oven. Bake until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.