This Gratin Lets Swiss Chard Do the Talking

Mar 16, 2020 · 13 comments
JamieKate (Kansas City, Missouri)
Was the intent that this be made as a side dish or as a one-dish meal? It does seem like there is a lot going on for just a side. But if a side, what works best with such a dish. I tried to email the authors, but could not find an address . . ..
Dr_No (Oxford, England)
@JamieKate My guess would be chicken
Mary Rae Fouts (Pleasant Hill, CA)
So discouraging that so many of the NYT Food Section articles are so impractical for home cooks. I cook and bake extensively. But this recipe calls for a generic "large, ovenproofed lidded skillet" with no exact dimensions. Pic appears to show a 17" skillet. I have one, cast iron. But how many home kitchens do? Likely few. In these incredibly stressful times, this complicated and time consuming recipe ill serves the NYT readers.
Not even close to worth the time and effort (and the cleanup, my poor skillet). It's very tasty, but not, as one commenter said, a "throw-together" recipe. It took nearly an hour of prep, plus 1h40 in the oven. I wouldn't have even attempted it if not under quarantine, and won't again. And I'm a big fan of his recipes.
hammond (San Francisco)
I'm a huge fan of Ottolenghi. I have three of his cookbooks (theirs, really, written with Sami Tamimi). The recipes are wonderful, usually simple to prepare, and best of all, there's a logic behind each one. They practically encourage the cook to try variations on the theme. For this dish I added a splash of sherry vinegar to the onions and let it reduce for a minute or so, then I added the sumac. I used almonds instead of pine nuts because, well, that's what I had. And I arranged a single layer of potatoes on the top to preserve the aesthetic of traditional gratins. The uniform surface displayed the onion and buttered nut mixture very nicely. This was so much lighter than traditional gratins. The lemon and the extra bit of acid from the vinegar gives it a bright taste, counterbalancing the rich cheese and cream. I used a local artisanal aged cheddar that was sharp and full-bodied; it was much more complex than the dull weight of gruyere used in traditional gratins.
Maya (Germany)
how can I make this vegan?
Katy (Seattle)
Chard is the best, but kale also works really well in this sort of recipe. I sometimes roast a lot of vegetables and then bake them in a cheese sauce with kale, and it's a great throw-together non-recipe for chilly days.
JW (northeast)
I grow swiss chard --easy, grows through Novemvber--thus have to somehow cook it 1-2 x a week. Easy dinner without oven --cook onion, maybe garlic or scapes. Red bell pepper if available. Potato if already cooked. Chop swiss chard stems should be added to onions. Beat 2 eggs pp w fresh or jarred spices, and add a few tablespoons grated pecorino romano or parmesan. When onions translescent, wilt swiss chard and then top with eggs, stir well, then brown. Easy to turn over to brown on both sides. Great fast dinner w or w/o bread. Good sandwich filler the next day. Good cold from refrigerator
Paul (Brooklyn)
Food information please, especially calories and fat content. Whiffs of butter and cream set off my alarm bells. That's a dog whistle way of saying it is loaded with calories and fat, just like soup cans say low salt and has more salt in it to start a salt mine.
L (Ann Arbor)
These are common ingredients. You may google then as you cook, count the calories you are adding, and divide by number of servings. The point of the recipe is the concept. This is not Family Circle.
Paul (Brooklyn)
@L thank you for your reply. Many people especially seniors are concerned about food value. The NY Times above all, being the most informative newspaper in the world should know that. The average person is not a food ingredient expert and depend on the pros to figure it out.
Dan Shannon (Denver)
The average person could give a hoot, but you and yours could “improve” the recipe by substituting skim milk for the cream, eliminating the butter and cheese, using lemon in place of the salt, and substituting sawdust for the other ingredients...Perfection!
pete mac (Adirondacks)
Beets and chard aren't just the same family; they're the same species, beta vulgaris (common beet).
See also