Silverbeet Gratin

silverbeet

Silverbeet isn’t classy. It is often held in low esteem, is considered a boring vegetable and to top it all of is mildly toxic. So why eat it? Well when small silverbeet trees started appearing in the fruit shop a few weeks ago for a pittance, I thought ‘hang the poison, I gotta get me some of that, and find out what all the fuss is about’. And thus replaced half the groceries I bought that day with a hulking heap of silverbeet because, you know, I can only carry so much home.

silverbeetgratin

To cut a long story short, I never found out what all the fuss was about for silverbeet as a vegetable in general, because I managed to turn that mountain of chard, and the next one too, into this crazy simple silverbeet gratin. I added gruyere one time, unnecessarily, as sufficient richness added by the milk. Smooth, tender and creamy topped with a breadcrumb crunch, this earthy side dish is the reason to eat silverbeet.

silverbeetgratin

Silverbeet Gratin

800g Silverbeet
40g butter
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2t plain flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup coarse breadcrumbs

Wash leaves thoroughly. Cut leaves from stalks. Slice the stalks into 1 cm pieces and reserve. Cut leaves into strips. Heat a large pan of water and salt lightly. When boiled, add the stalks and cook for about 10 mins, then add the leaves, stir, return to the boil and then drain. Refresh silverbeet in cold water, and drain again. Squeeze all liquid out of the vegetable and place in a tea towel lined bowl. Wrap silverbeet in the towel and squeeze again, discarding liquid. Being careful to remove all the liquid at this stage ensures that you get rid of the oxalic acid, that pesky toxin, and makes it difficult to overcook the silverbeet.

Heat butter and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium eat and add garlic, cook until fragrant, then add the silverbeet and stir. Season with salt and pepper and cook until quite dry. Sprinkle with flour, stir, and cook for a few minutes to lightly cook the flour. Add the milk in 3 batches, stirring well between each addition until milk has been absorbed. Spoon into a greased baking dish, or 4 individual ones, cover with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over a few drops of olive oil. Place in a preheated 180C oven and bake for about 15 mins or until golden and bubbly. Serve warm with a roast.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

5 Comments

  1. Posted June 8, 2009 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    “golden and bubbly”… I love it! And yes please on the Gruyere!

  2. Posted June 8, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Silverbeet is adored in this household. My boys will eat it simply boiled with a little butter tossed through. But this? This they would eat until their heads fell off.

    kim at allconsuming’s last blog post..Geek Geek Geek

  3. Posted June 10, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    I really love how you use veges which are often off the radar of most peoples shopping lists. Potato gratin is one of my fav foods, will have to give this version a try this winter.

    Howard’s last blog post..Eating through a long weekend

  4. Posted June 14, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    FFichiban : Its always more cheese with you, isn’t it? :)

    kim at allconsuming: What a great compliment “they would eat until their head fell off” I love it! Thank you :)

    Howard: Aww thanks! One of the reasons for this blog is to expose myself to a wider array of foods and techniques (what I was cooking before this blog came along was really boring). Plus I’m frugal and that forces you to be adventurous, which pays off more often than not.

  5. Posted September 11, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    “golden and bubbly”… I love it! And yes please on the Gruyere!

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