When it comes to gratin, the potato is entirely overrated. Nutritious greens--especially good this time of year--deserve a shot at becoming transformed into a creamy, soothing mess. This simple dish uses the sunchoke, also called Jerusalem artichoke, to bind everything together. Sprouted breadcrumbs, baked until golden, create a hearty crust.
Greens au Gratin
4-6 side dish servings
Peel the sunchokes as you would fresh ginger, using a spoon to scrape the brown skin from the white interior flesh. To make the cup of breadcrumbs called for, just toast and blend 2 pieces of bread.
1 pound sunchokes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
¾ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon (ideally fresh) ground nutmeg
16 ounces mixed greens: spinach, chard, kale, and broccoli raab are excellent
1 cup wholegrain breadcrumbs (from 2 slices of bread)
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt
Heat oven to 350ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin or casserole dish, and set aside.
Steam the sunchoke chunks until fork-tender. Transfer to a blender or food processor, along with non-dairy milk, flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Blend until very smooth, and set aside.
Steam greens until very bright green and slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Shake briefly to drain, and transfer to prepared dish. Pour the sunchoke mixture over, prodding at the greens a bit to evenly distribute the sauce.
In a small bowl, toss breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Scatter the crumb mixture over the top, and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, until the gratin is bubbly and golden.
Remove from oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
This dish is lovely mounded over grains and topped with crispy sliced seitan--be sure everyone gets a good sprinkling of the crumb topping! It's also delicious alone, eaten in a big bowl while curled up on the sofa.