French Friday: Mushroom and Greens Gratin
It is very gray, rainy day here in Brooklyn. So gray in fact, that if I walked up to the corner of 15th Street and Prospect Park West, where the street curves into a traffic circle and the dun-brown façade of a large apartment building curves along with it, I might even think I were in Paris. Perhaps because I had just had an engagement ring slipped on my finger, but I think of that time in Paris as being so alive: my senses wide open, and at the same time, a kind of quiet consideration coated our days, a reserved thoughtfulness. Maybe that’s just what rain streaming down window panes does to me, though––this morning perfect evidence.
For this week’s French Friday, I offer up a recipe that can be described in one word: wonderful. It is rich with the flavor of rosemary and musky mushrooms and still subtle at the same time. A couple of eggs in the ingredients list make this lovely as a brunch dish or for dinner on a cold and rainy night like this one. Though at our house, I happen to know Chinese delivery is on the menu tonight. What can I say? After a week of cooking quick weeknight dinners (I have so many successes to share!), I’m ready to take the night off.
Let’s talk about this weekend (and isn’t it funny how a short week like the one we Americans just had often feel the longest? I woke up yesterday morning certain it was Friday. Ouch.), and revisit my favorite game of looking-forward and casting aside: What are you doing this weekend? What aren’t you doing?
For such a simply and somewhat unassumingly titled dish, I feel compelled to repeat myself: this is really wonderful. It is the kind of cooking that is so much more than the sum of its parts, and makes you feel grateful that you turned on the oven and tied your apron strings: it was very much worth it.
Because I am lazy, I skipped a step: I did not blanch my greens, instead adding them to the mushrooms several minutes earlier in the sauté process. If you would like to follow suit, add the greens after the mushrooms have sauteed for about 5 minutes; continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, then add the rosemary and garlic. Works for me.
Mushroom and Greens Gratin
from the New York Times
1 1/2 pounds greens, such as chard, stemmed and washed (2 bunches)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt abundantly and add the greens. Cook for one to four minutes, depending on the type of green (sturdy greens take longer), until just tender. Transfer to a bowl of ice water, then drain and squeeze out water. Chop coarsely.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the shallots or onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, three to five minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about eight minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the rosemary and garlic. Cook for another minute. Add the greens, and stir together for another minute. Adjust seasonings.
Whisk together the eggs and milk. Add salt and pepper, and stir in the cheeses and mushroom/greens mixture. Scrape into the baking dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until browned and sizzling. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.