New uses for chard in recipes

A neighbor posted on our shared email list that she had harvested from her garden more chard than she could use. If anybody wanted it, she would leave it on her front porch for pickup.

I was over there in a minute. As soon as I got home, I separated the chard leaves from the stems, refrigerated the stems (I would use them later in a Middle Eastern dip) and blanched the leaves, knowing they would end up in a gratin, one of my favorite vehicles for chard.

I often bulk up my gratins with cooked rice, something I learned to do in Provence. But as it happened, I had a few steamed ears of corn in my refrigerator, leftovers from a dinner party waiting to be used in a salad, taco or risotto. Instead, I used them in my gratin. The corn kernels proved a sweet, crunchy and juicy alternative to rice. My son and I ate the gratin as a main dish one night, and as a side dish the next.

This recipe follows the template that I use for most of my main-dish vegetable gratins. I like gratins hot, warm or at room temperature. I fold the aromatic vegetable filling into a mixture of eggs beaten with milk, salt, pepper and cheese, usually Gruyère, and then add rice or, in this case, corn.

Sometimes I sprinkle Parmesan or bread crumbs, or both, over the top. I drizzle the mixture with a little olive oil, then bake it until the top and sides of the gratin are nicely browned.

Chard and Sweet Corn Gratin

Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 generous bunch Swiss or rainbow chard, stemmed and washed

Salt

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Black pepper

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 to 3 ounces Gruyère, grated (1/2 to 3/4 cup), to taste

Kernels from 2 cooked ears sweet corn (1 1/2 to 2 cups)

1 ounce Parmesan, grated (1/4 cup)

Preparation:

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart baking dish or gratin.

2. Blanch chard: Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the chard leaves. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add chard leaves. (Set aside stems for another use, or discard.) Blanch 1 to 2 minutes, until tender but still bright. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain thoroughly and squeeze out excess water; chop medium-fine.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute, then stir in rosemary, thyme and chopped blanched chard. Season with salt and pepper and stir over medium heat until chard is nicely coated with oil, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in chard mixture and Gruyère. Stir in corn and mix well. Scrape into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan over top and drizzle with remaining olive oil.

5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned on the top and sides. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

6. Blanched chard and cooked corn will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator, and cooked gratin will keep for 3 to 4 days.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X