Brooding On

Greens Gratin

Tamar Adler's An Everlasting Meal was a lovely read.  Her emphasis on not wasting anything that makes its way into the kitchen really resonated with me.  So, I was excited to try this recipe from the book and found it to be a pretty scrumptious way to eat greens.

This recipe starts with 2 cups of already-seasoned cooked greens.  

So, let's back up a minute.  For your "greens," you can use pretty much any sturdy leafy green.  I used beet greens leftover from my morning juicing.  To cook them, I like to saute mine like this for omelets.  To prep for this Greens Gratin recipe, I just cooked extra during my omelet prep time.
Once you've got your cooked greens, you're ready to make your bechamel sauce (once again, the word bechamel should have an apostrophe-thingy over the first e -- someone should really teach me how to do these things in Blogger). 

To make the sauce, melt one tablespoon butter and add one tablespoon of flour, whisking until combined.  Heat 1 cup of milk in the microwave to remove the chill and add it slowly to the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to the lowest possible heat and cook for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.  

Mix your greens and bechamel well and taste for flavor (my greens were cooked in olive oil, onion powder, salt, and garlic, so I didn't need to add anything more, but you may want to add additional seasoning at this point).

Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish, sprinkle with another 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan and bake at 400 degrees "until it's bubbling, set, and slightly colored at the edges."  (Adler is nearly always this vague about cooking times.  It took mine about 45 minutes to set up.)

**If you do not care for the taste of cooked spinach or other greens, you should probably skip this recipe.  If you do like spinach and/or it's family members, you may just LOVE this stuff!  

The bechamel sauce makes a nice pasta sauce or dipping sauce for steamed veggies like broccoli.  If you like the sauce, maybe consider doubling your bechamel recipe, using part for Green Gratin and part for a later meal.