Saturday, July 9, 2011

Good Enough to Eat: Kale and Potato Gratin

The word Gratin conjures up thoughts of cold winter nights, snuggling up with your honey to a plate of creamy, cheesy potatoes, packing on the pounds and cholesterol for a long winter's nap.

Yeah, I'm definitely not afraid of that. But during the summer? I like to lighten it up a little bit. I also like to use what I get every week in my CSA box, so when I got a bunch of potato and kale last week? I turned to Sew Girly for a great recipe.

Now most people may not like or use kale very much and I understand your hesitation. But since we've joined our local CSA I've discovered how freaking DELICIOUS kale can be! Now matter how you want to cook it, it's a total superfood. It's full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, some so potent that they say they can prevent cancer... some people even call it the "Queen of Greens". Whatever you want to call it and however you want to cook it, don't be afraid of it. It's really delicious stuff. And this recipe is a great way to introduce it into your family's food repertoire.

Let's be honest though, if you don't want to use the kale? You could use swiss chard (another stellar green), or spinach, but just make sure you use enough of it. The greens in this dish impart most of the flavor, so you really want to have them running through the potatoes... because potatoes? Pretty bland stuff most of the time. At least until you put them in this recipe and kill them with GARLIC and HERBS!! Yum.

Anyway, if you're looking for a good way to get some superfoods into your diet without scaring the bejeezus out of your family? Go for this... it's a good start. Who knows, you may even love it so much you'll be asking me for my kale chip recipe next!!

Happy summer cooking!!

Kale and Potato Gratin 
(original recipe courtesy of The Kitchn


1.5 pounds of thin skinned boiling potatoes - I used a mix of red and yukons, whatever I had just gotten in the box.

1 bunch of kale - Again, you could use spinach or chard, but I say, try the kale!!

1/4 cup of olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, minced - Be aggressive, garlic is IMPORTANT to this dish.

2 tsp course salt

1 tsp pepper

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup parmesan cheese - This really imparts a TON of flavor into the potatoes. You could even add a mix of cheeses, like pecorino (which I did for a really nice salty bite) or anything hard and grate-able.

Italian herbs or herbs de Provence - Important. I think the dish needs some nice herb-iness. Probably not a word but you know what I mean. Add whatever herbs you have on hand, dry or fresh and don't be afraid. The dish will need it.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get a pot of water large enough to accommodate the potatoes. Also prepare an ice bath. Now do not be afraid of these steps. They sound labor intensive but they really aren't. Don't run away!!

Mix the parmesan and bread crumbs. Set aside.

Slice the potatoes 1/4 inch thick. Set them aside. Then remove and throw out the spines from the kale so all you are left with is the gorgeous leafy green part. Now chiffonade them. Fancy word, I know. It means, roll all of the leaves up like a cigar and then cut them into 1/2 inch thick slices. When they unroll? You will have lovely ribbons of kale. Congrats! You are now a professional chef... you can chiffonade.

When the water comes to a boil, add a good handful of salt and drop in the sliced potatoes, cooking for about 2-3 minutes. You want them tender, but not cooked through. Once that time is up? Dunk 'em in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Then throw them into a colander to strain them and leave 'em alone.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Add the kale and rub the mixture into it. Get aggressive as this will make it all wilt-y and all full of flavor.

Now layer the potatoes, kale mixture and parmesan/bread crumbs into a greased baking dish (I use Pam),  making sure that the kale/herby goodness is mixed all throughout for consistent flavor. Also make sure that you end up with a healthy dose of parmesan breadcrumbs on top.

Drizzle the top with a little olive oil to ensure a gorgeous brown crusty top and pop that sucker into the oven, covered.

Bake it for 30 minutes covered and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes for some nice crustiness on top. YUMMMMM. We love crustiness.

Serve as a side to steak on the grill, or maybe even some White BBQ Chicken! Enjoy!!


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