This is the first time we tried to grow rainbow chard and we have never eaten it before. I don't think this vegetable is something you often see at the market vegetable rack either. I have seen silverbeet at our local market but not rainbow chard. I got rainbow chard seeds from one of our local seed-saver group meetings. I am not sure whether this plant can grow in our cold season so it was a gamble which this gardener has to make. Fortunately we got lucky.
Rainbow chards seedlings.
Some of our rainbow chards which are growing at the front of potato plants. Plant too many rainbow chard last fall, I guess I got too excited on planting it for the first time. The plants are scattered in different places. I was surprise that the chards were relatively almost pest-free. I don't need to look after them like the brassicas. But what I did noticed about rainbow chard that it does not grow well in partial shade compared to brassicas which is more tolerant.
I did not have the time to learn other way to cook rainbow chards, other than chopping them for fried rice or stir-fry. But I decided to become more adventurous and try using our oven more often this month. I am more comfortable using a wok rather than the oven. So I found this gratin recipe that look simple enough for a beginner like me in the world of gratin to prepare. Moreover, this is the first time I use heavy cream for cooking and making a gratin dish. Many first time experience for me in this winter season. Its already middle of the year and I am hoping many of my like-to-do list in 2011 will be tick off.
This recipe is from Nigel Slater the author of Tender (A cook and his vegetable patch) cookbook.
Rainbow Chard Gratin (enough for 4)
Rainbow Chard stems and leaves (450gram)
Whole-grain mustard (a tablespoon)
Heavy Cream (400ml)
Grated Parmesan ( a good handul)
Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Cut the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stem into shorter lengths, then cook briefly in boiling, lightly salted water until crisply tender.
Dip the leaves in the water briefly, until they relax.
Drain and put them in a buttered shallow ovenproof dish.
Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in the cream and a grinding of salt and black pepper.
Pour the seasoned cream over the stem and leaves, cover with grated Parmesan, and bake until the top has a light crust the colour of honey.
Ready to put in the oven.
I was so worried how this gratin will cook that I kept on peering into the oven.
Then I had to worry about whether all the members on the dining table will enjoy this dish or not.
It was a hit, everyone enjoys it.
What surprised me the most is to watch my husband having third servings!
Because he usually does not eat a lot of vegetables compared to other family members.
Sometime I purposely serve him a lot of vegetables because I know he won't have seconds.
So gratin will make more appearance in our kitchen now.
Any share ideas on how to prepare rainbow chard?