This preparation assumes you have cooked, seasoned greens in the refrigerator, such as kale, collards or Swiss chard. If you don't have any on hand, it takes only minutes to wash and chop the wet greens (2 1/2 to 3 ounces' worth of leaves only), then saute them in a little olive oil and perhaps a dash of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes, with no liquid other than the water clinging to the leaves after you wash them, until they are tender.
Serve over toast or rice.
Make Ahead: This makes twice as much bechamel as you'll need for the gratin. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week and is great used as a simple pasta sauce or combinee with just about any cooked vegetables to create other gratins.
Servings: 1 - 2
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the gratin dish(es)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup whole or low-fat milk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup chopped, cooked, seasoned greens, at room temperature (see headnote)
- Kosher or sea salt (optional)
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk until thoroughly incorporated. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low so that it is barely bubbling around the edges. Cook, stirring frequently, until the raw taste of the flour is gone and the flavors have come together to form a bechamel sauce, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. The yield is about 1 cup.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a little butter to generously grease 1 or 2 small gratin dishes.
Combine the cooked greens in a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt if needed. Spoon the mixture into the dish(es). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are bubbling around the edges.
Adapted from"An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace," by Tamar Adler (Scribner, 2011).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.