About This Blog

This is, as the title indicates, my kitchen notebook (the header is actually a scanned image of the cover of a notebook that I started using about 25 years ago and the background is a stained page from that book). I am not a professional recipe writer. If you try any recipe here, please keep that in mind, these recipes have not been tested by an independent tester. The "recipes" are often not even really recipes but rather a list of ingredients that I've noted after preparing a dish on the fly that I thought came out well. Perhaps I've also added some instructions, but I rarely keep accurate track of what I've done in terms of time or temperature, I've just noted to the best of my memory (feeble) what I did.

Please feel free to take some inspiration from here, but on the other hand, please give credit where it is due. I also welcome any constructive comments that you might have if you are inspired to try a recipe. Questions are welcome, but keep in mind that I may not remember specifics. The dishes do evolve over time...

Thank you and enjoy!

Chard Stem Gratin

1/4 pound pancetta
1 pound chard stems (I'll use 1 1/2 lbs next time)
1/2 cup cream
chopped Italian parsley
fresh ground black pepper
fresh grated nutmeg
2 ounces gruyere, coarsely grated
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

Cut the pancetta into thin slices and then into 1/2 inch pieces. Cook in a medium size saute pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Reserve another tablespoon of the fat on the side.Cut the chard stems on the diagonal into about 1/2 to 1-inch pieces, a mix of sizes is nice. Saute them briefly over medium heat in the pancetta fat. I used a little salt at this point but won't next time I make it because the final dish was a little salty for my taste. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the pan, cover the pan, allow to come to a boil, turn the heat down and cook until tender. I think it took about 10 minutes. Most of the liquid should be cooked away at this point.

Put the cooked stems into a lightly oiled 6-cup gratin dish. Sprinkle the pancetta bits over the top. Add the cream to the dish. Grind fresh black pepper over all. Grate a bit of nutmeg over all. Sprinkle with the parsley, I used a few tablespoons. Sprinkle on the grated grated gruyere. Toss the dried bread crumbs with the reserved pancetta fat and sprinkle evenly over the gratin. Bake at 450 F. for about 30 minutes, until the top is crispy and nicely browned.

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