Monday, February 23, 2009

Kale gratin

If you have a vegetable box, you probably receive quite a lot kale during the winter months. Last week, it was a vivid purple. But, no matter how attractive in appearance, kale can have a harsh, chewy consistency. Preparing it as a gratin can soften it, and make it palatable even to those who are wary of brassicas. Serves 4.

Bagful of kale
About 50g butter
3dstsp flour
About 350ml milk
100g grated Cheddar, Gruyere, or some such
Scraping of nutmeg
Salt, pepper
2dstsp grated Parmesan

Warm a gratin dish in a gas mark 5/190C oven.

Strip the kale from the stalks, and wash it. Pour water a couple of cms deep into a saucepan, bring it to the boil, shove in the kale, and cook it, covered, for about five minutes, or until wilted. Drain, and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour, and cook very gently for a minute or so. (Use more butter if this roux is too thick.) Turn up the heat slightly, and pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, incorporating each addition before pouring in more. Stop when you have a thick but pourable sauce, and let it bubble, while you stir, for a minute or so. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Stir in the Cheddar or Gruyere. Mix the sauce and the kale. (I found that there was a lot of kale in my bag, so I made the mixture a little more liquid by adding some cream from the fridge.)

Tip into the gratin dish, sprinkle over the Parmesan, and bake for 20 minutes. If you'd like a browner top, finish it under the grill.


elwyn said...

Dear Nicholas,

If you vegetable box is continually padded up with kale, I seriously suggest you re-think your supplier!

We all like to have variety - with some kale - but there are so many delicious winter vegetables to choose from - e.g. all those warming root vegetables plus fennel etc.

If you need to gussie up the vegetables, i.e. you are disguising them and not let them feature boldly, they are not worth the space in your kitchen or on your dinner plate.

Yours sincerely,


Nicholas Clee said...

I have no complaints about my veg box, Elwyn. And I like kale. But children, in particular, can find it a bit uncompromisingly leafy.

Tessa said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Nicholas Clee said...

Thanks, Tessa. Do leave more comments - whether you agree with me or not!