I based tonight’s dinner off a recipe provided by Garden City Harvest, the organization that provides our CSA share. The recipe, Bok Choy and Ham Gratin, caught my eye for its simplicity, and for an outside-of-the-box approach to Bok Choy, what I think of as an Asian vegetable good for stir fries and soups. Then again, I’ve yet to actually cook bok choy, so what do I know?
Anyways, I ended up making it with beet greens instead. When I got home and opened the fridge, the beet greens were limp and the bok choy was still in great shape, so beet greens it was. I soaked the slightly wilted greens in ice water until they regained some of their rigidity – totally salvageable. Why did I do this? The Joy of Cooking told me to. I generally do what Irma Rombauer & the Beckers say – they haven’t steered me wrong yet.
This was a great dish – a hearty main course and perfect with a fresh salad with a drizzle of Caesar dressing and spritz of lemon on the side. The beet greens retained much of their sharp flavor and weren’t overwhelmed by the ham or the cheese, though next time I’ll cut back on the cheese sauce. I made more cheese sauce than the original recipe suggested – I just really like cheese sauce. It’s shameful, really, how much I like it. As I made it, though, we needed spoons to delve into this goodness. In this case, less cheese sauce would be good.
A fun benefit of using beet greens instead of bok choy? The dish was slightly pink. Fun!
The recipe below is how I would make it next time – so it should have a thicker texture.
Beet Green and Ham Gratin
1 ½ tbsp butter
1 small onion, sliced thinly
2 scapes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups beet greens, cut into 2 to 3 inch lengths cross wise, including stems
Salt & Pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup grated Swiss or other good melting cheese (I used a mild cheddar, it didn’t melt well), plus ¼ cup for topping
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup lean ham, chopped
- Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté until soft.
- Add scapes and garlic, cook, stirring until garlic is fragrant.
- Add beet greens and salt and pepper, cook, stirring often, until the stems are tender and the leaves are wilted. Remove from heat.
- Add butter to small saucepan, melt. Add 2 tbsp flour and cook, whisking until browned. Add milk and heat until just about to simmer. Remove from heat. Preheat broiler.
- Add cheese and nutmeg, stir in until melted, then add ¾ of the ham. Add the beet green mixture and stir.
- Pour mixture into a small baking pan, sprinkle ham on top.
- Broil until bubbly, then add cheese and broil until just brown.
- Remove from oven and let sit before serving.