Kale Gratin

This time of year one of the vegetables commonly available is kale. I’ve tried making this vegetable several different ways in order to get my spouse to eat it. I’ve braised it, put it in soup, made little “kale meatless balls” with it. Alas, no success. This week I decided to take a different tack. What if I make a gratin with it? My sister in-law made a spinach gratin that my spouse loved during the holidays. It was incredibly decadent with lots of cream and cheese. Too fattening for a regular meal. Then last week I got an update from Simple Recipes that included a recipe for Spinach Gratin with Hard Boiled Eggs. From this I found the Zucchini and Spinach Gratin recipe which had comments discussing substituting kale for the spinach. So I gave it a shot knowing that I’d probably need to tweak the binding ingredients a bit as kale is produces a lot less liquid than spinach. Below is my riff

  • 1 bunch of fresh kale, chopped
  • 2 tbs Olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 shallot chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • Cooking spray

Add olive oil to the pan and heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and shallots and cook. Add chopped kale and enough liquid to braise the kale, about a 3/4 cup. Turn down to medium low. Cook slowly adding more water if necessary. Drain cooked kale and place into a bowl. Add the pepper, eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs and milk. Mix well. Transfer into a 9×9 glass baking dish greased with cooking spray. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

I took this to lunch at a friend’s house today. It turned out quite well. The consistency was almost right. I probably would add a bit more milk next time and also either puree the kale a bit with an immersion blender before draining the liquid, or chop it finer for braising. Taste wise it was spot on, the ration of guyere to parmesan just right. I might attempt it with gorgonzola cheese instead of guyere if I wanted a stronger cheese flavor. Another option would be to spice it up with some crushed red pepper. I reheated and served the rest of the dish as the vegetable for dinner and my spouse gave it an rating of acceptable side dish. His main concern was did it have too many calories with the cheese. This is something I’m not sure about but I think in reasonable portions it should be acceptable. Mostly because it isn’t too cheesy and doesn’t use heavy cream. All and all I’m looking forward to refining the recipe when I get kale as part of my spring CSA basket of goodies.

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