WARNING: when you make this do not take your eyes off of the finished product for a second! Both times I've made this and intended to serve it as a side for dinner, certain people, even those who have professed not to like Swiss chard, have gobbled up nearly all of it while my back was turned!! Truly! Which you could just attribute to the fact that everyone was starving before dinner or take it as a silent (as in mouths are full) compliment that this interesting and summery gratin is absolutely delicious and irresistible! Let's hear it for the power of positive thinking!!
But before we get to the gratin, I have to wax poetic both about my daughter's birthday on Sunday (she just turned 15--how did that happen?!!) and our birthday morning visit to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC for the famous cronut and other amazing pastries too!! Totally worth getting up early to wait on the line! If you have no idea what I'm talking about the Dominque Ansel Bakery is the originator of the now world-famous cronut and they only make a limited supply each day--once they run out, that's it! And you can only buy two at a time!! So to ensure that you get one (or two) of these beauties, you have to get on line at least an hour before they open. While you're waiting, they bring you little cups of homemade lemonade and just-baked mini-madeleines (I hear it's hot chocolate in the winter). And they only make 1 flavor per month and have never repeated the same flavor in the 3 years that they've been making them. Ours was black cherry and Valrhona milk chocolate--totally luscious and worth every extra minute you'll have to spend in the gym to burn this one off. Also amazing is the DKA pastry and the almond croissant--if you get to NYC, make this a priority!! So glad you had a birthday Annabel!!
Now that I've teased you with all that, let's get back to more sensible eating!! This swiss chard corn gratin is easy to make and makes great use of all the terrific fresh corn and swiss chard that's around. Your house will smell wonderful as it cooks!
And while I was planning to serve this as a side, you could totally make this a delectable vegetarian main course--just add a salad and maybe some bread and it would be the perfect summer meal!
So wish I had a piece of this right now, but unfortunately with both of our boys home now, that's just not my reality!!
Swiss Chard Corn Gratin
Makes about 6-8 servings (depending on whether it's a side or a main dish)
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing baking dish (or you can use nonstick spray)
- 1 large bunch Swiss or rainbow chard, stemmed and washed
- Salt to taste
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
- 3-4 ounces Swiss or Gruyére or any combination of the two (about 1 cup)
- The kernels from 2 cooked ears of corn
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and grease a 9x13-inch pan.
2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile fill a large bowl with cold water and ice and set it near the stove. Salt the water when it comes to a boil and add the swiss chard. Let it cook for just a minute or two so it gets tender but still stays bright. Immediately transfer it to the bowl of ice water using a pair of tongs to stop it from cooking. Let it sit for a minute or two. Meanwhile, if you haven't already cooked the corn, you can use the water to do so now. Add the corn to the pot, cover it and let it boil for 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and when it's cool enough to handle, cut off the kernels and set aside.
3. By handfuls over the sink, squeeze as much water out of the chard as possible. Chop it on a board into a medium-fine dice. Set aside.
4. Place the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet and and heat over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until it's barely turning brown, then add in the chard and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, letting it cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and a pinch or two of salt together. Stir in the chard mixture and swiss or Gruyére cheese. Then add the corn and stir well. Pour into the prepared baking dish, smooth the top and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, evenly across the top. If you like, you can even drizzle a bit of olive oil over the surface as well.
4. Bake for about 34-40 minutes, until nicely browned. Let sit for about 10 minutes and serve. There will be no leftovers, but if there somehow magically are, this is great cold too and lasts about 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Note: Recipe adapted from a NY Times article by Martha Rose Shulman. I tweaked this a bit and cut the teaspoon each of fresh rosemary and thyme which if you like, you can add right after you cook the garlic. I also increased the cheese a bit.