In my recent review of Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell, I raved about the little ramekin of Swiss Chard gratin that came with the tenderloin. My friend and I swooned over this deceptively simple accompaniment to a meal that was already a success. Our forks vied for every bite, and I resolved to try making it at home.
Sure, I could have just asked for the recipe, but I wanted to see if I could come up with something close on my own. My delicious result is at the left. I think I had too much cream in it (yes, that is possible), but otherwise it was amazing.
It helped that I found high quality organic ingredients – Swiss chard from the Whole Earth Center, good butter, and very good grass fed heavy cream, not ultra-pasteurized, and buttery yellow.
Here’s what I came up with –
Chard Gratin à la Blue Bottle Café
One bunch chard, thickest part of stems trimmed (if you want to use them, julienne them). Like other greens, chard really cooks down, so that huge bunch of chard makes one ~8-inch gratin dish. It’s so rich, though, it could serve 4.
Rinse chard, rough chop into 3-inch pieces, blanch 2-3 minutes, shock in cold water, and squeeze dry.
Preheat oven to 375-400°. (I tend to use high heat, as would a restaurant, but up to you)
In a frying pan, sauté a chopped shallot in 1/2 stick of butter. Add squeezed chard, and stir with a fork to separate the clumps of chard. (I used a wooden fork, and shook the clumps apart basically; per photo below.)
Add cream, a little grated nutmeg, and grated Parmesan cheese. Put in gratin dish, top with more Parmesan, bake ~15 minutes, until bubbling and top is browned.
Of course, with this much butter and cream, you could use old cleaning rags in this recipe, and it would taste great, but still…I’m proud of my result, and hope the Blue Bottle Cafe would approve.