Creamy Kale Gratin

Kale is this year’s  “It” vegetable. A nutritional powerhouse with sudden cachet.

How to include it on your Thanksgiving table? Here is a robust dish, good for potlucks. Creamy and cheesy, it may win over ever even ardent leafy-green haters in your family.

Creamy Kale Gratin
(Serves 4)

  • 8 oz. kale, thick stems removed, rinsed and chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • grated nutmeg to taste
  • 2 oz. gruyère, grated
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, grated
  • 2 Tbs. large, coarse breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream

In a large pan, gently sauté onion in oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Raise heat and add chopped kale, still moist from rinsing. Stir around in the oil until the greens start to wilt. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes, until greens are glistening and almost tender.

To make the béchamel: Melt butter in a pan, stir in flour, and cook for a couple of minutes over gentle heat. Gradually whisk in milk to make a smooth lumpless sauce and stir until thickened. Turn off the heat, stir in half the grated cheeses. Season, with pepper, nutmeg and a little salt if needed.

Swipe a gratin dish with smidge of butter.  Stir most of the sauce through the greens. Turn into a buttered gratin dish, spreading the last of the sauce on top. Mix cheeses with the big coarse breadcrumbs and strew them on top of the dish. Warm kale gratin through in a 370 F oven, about 20 minutes. Before serving, trickle cream around the inner rim of the gratin dish. Pass briefly under a hot broiler (watching) to finish crisping and browning the top.

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