Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rainbow Chard~My First Gratin

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?


Patricia said...

It is interesting to hear that Rainbow chard is not a common vegetable "down under." Here we tend to grow it almost year around. Even in the summer, if there is a shady spot. Sometimes I use it as a filler for ravioli. But usually, I add it to various soups, bean dishes or just braise with with some garlic, onion, splash of vinegar. So very good for you. The gratin sounds delicious. I will try it. I liked your photos.

cikmanggis said...

apa nama Rainbow chard dalam bahasa malaysia?satu resepi yang bagus untuk mereka yang tak suka sayur,mungkin boleh ganti dgn sayur lain...

Sunray Gardens said...

It looks really good and it sounds like you are able to find good meals to make from your garden.

Hazel said...

hiding vegetables under a cheesy coat is always a sure fire way to get reluctant eaters to gobble them up. I have never seen it done with chard though. I will be giving this one a try.

Wendy said...

Looks great! I am not always a big fan of vegetables too, but slathering something with cheese is always helpful! I've followed a recipe that Holly from Tasty Travels made that cooks down some meaty mushrooms and chard (chopped i think) and then used to top steak. It was amazing.

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Mark Willis said...

I am also a great fan of Nigel Slater. He has had a big influence on our cooking style. We have most of his books, and we enjoy watching him on TV.
You will probably enjoy the chard most when you stir-fry it with garlic and chillies!

Katie M said...

How funny! I have a few photos on my desktop waiting for me to blog about rainbow chard, and I thought exactly the same thing, that you never see it for sale here, which seems strange to me because it's the most BEAUTIFUL looking vegetable.
You can use it any way you'd use spinich, I made a fritatta with mine.

CathJ said...

it looks so good... no wonder your hubb go for 3rd round.. :D

kitchen flavours said...

Your gratin looks marvellous! I have always wanted to try rainbow chard and rhubarb! Your veggies are all looking great! Wish I could join you for dinner! Yummy!

Sue Catmint said...

Dear KMG, can I come for dinner too with kitchen flavours? I like gratin dishes but prefer the Asian things you usually cook because they are lighter and healthier. But good on you for being adventurous and trying new things! cheers, cm

Manish said...

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littlekarstar said...

Hallo! Your recipe sounds good.
I throw mine into anything and everything, even into steaming rice at the last second before rice cooker turns off..and I find mine grows better in part shade than full sun! Our Melbourne summers just kill it.
I lIke it best just chopped and fried quickly with garlic then drizzles with olive oil and lemon juice.

Sue Garrett said...

Rainbow Chard is pretty but we tend to just eat the tiny young leaves in salad as the taste is a bit too earthy for my liking. The cheese would mask this though.

Daphne Gould said...

I love all kinds of chard. Well except the stems. I won't eat them. They taste too much like beets for me. But the leave I adore. I adore them enough to like the fairly plain. I just boil them up and then drain. Then I put on a little balsamic vinegar. Pretty boring but it is my favorite. The second favorite is to do a quiche.

shaz said...

Well done on the gratin! It looked perfect. Sounds very yummy too :)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Patricia~I never made a ravioli before but I am really interested to make it somewhere in the future.

Cikmanggis~ Saya pun tak tahu apa namanya dalam bahasa malaysia sebab baru pertama kali nampak sayur ni dekat kebun sendiri...hehehe...selalunya tengok dekat dalam buku pinjam dari library.

Cher~Its fun to plan what to prepare with the fresh harvest. just gave me an idea. Perhaps I should think of other vegetables that I can hide under the cheese for the kids.

Wendy~I am going to have a look of this recipe at Holly blog. She posted about making pickles of this rainbow chard too.

Mark~I borrowed the book from the library. I was so curious I google to see his image cause I have never known about him before.

Hearts_in_asia~ I am happy to know that I am not the only that noticed that this beautiful chard is not common in the market here. Fritatta what a lovely idea. Will like to try.

CathJ~ My hubby can afford to go for 3rd round since he never have to worry about gaining weight. So I think I will cook more gratin to fatten him up.

Joyce~I have not try rhubarb yet too. I wish I can post some rainbow chard too you as we have many of it at the moment.

Catmint~Thanks. It was fun to try other things that we are not use too once in awhile.


Mrs Bok~Thanks for the tip. I will try growing rainbow chard in partial shade this coming spring/summer.

Sue~I prefer the younger leaves too as I noticed it gets earthy as it gets older.

Daphne~Simple thing is always the most enjoyable things. I like to try quiche too.

Shaz~Thanks. I was so worried when I prepare this gratin. Hope you are feeling much better.

Malar said...

The chard look yummy in cheese! May be i can try too!

The Seasonal One said...

I really enjoy your blog. Have read most of your previous post and totally happy to see all the healthy vegetables. I am going to try growing the Jicama. Happy gardening.

foodgardenkitchen said...

I use rainbow chard by slicing up the entire stem and leaves, sauteeing them, and them tossing them with cooked pasta and sprinkling with some romano or parmesan cheese (or both) and a bit of good olive oil.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Malar~Hope you like it. Cheese once in a while will make the kids happy and the father too?Hehehe...

The Seasanol One~Good Luck with the jicama. It will look nice on your home-made trellis too.

foodgardenkitchen~That sounds delicious. Thanks for the idea.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, I am a garden teacher in Oakland, CA and it is finally raining! I will have my kids (K-5th) harvest some purple mustard, chard, rosemary and collect eggs today...inside garden time is cooking! Am going to work with chard and eggs vs. cream, hmm, some have egg alergies so may try some soy or ?? but regardless LOVE you post and the pics. Thanks!! BJ