Kale, a super leafy vegetable, provides nutrients that support healthy skin, hair and bones. Dishes such as Kale au Gratin, Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cashews and Green Onions, or Sautéed Carrots, Kale and Watercress are just a few recipes to make you want to eat leafy greens.
The recipe Kale au Gratin is from Chef Michael Symon who is also a host on The Chew, an American cooking-themed talk show. Don’t you just love that show! I love the interaction, friendliness and the positivity of the show. There are not that many television shows similar to this one.
Kale as previously mentioned is a super leafy vegetable we should not ignore. A bit bitter, kale is an outstanding vegetable that is very versatile. I usually eat it raw in salads, steamed, baked or in stews.
Growing, I have never had an issue eating my vegetables. I am not sure of the reasons, but I believe it might be the results of how I was fed as a baby. My parents fed us salty foods before sugary foods. My siblings carried the same traditions as well.
I cannot conclude 100% that this resulted in a family of vegetables’ lovers but I can certainly say it worked. We eat lots of vegetables!
In the Caribbean, there is always some type of vegetable dish that is part of the dinner. Boiled, steamed, or bake, the recipes are endless.
I cannot tell you how many times have made my kale stew with just onions and peppers. I find kale as many other leafy greens to be be very versatile. Another Caribbean person may say that she or he adds other vegetables like eggplant to complement the taste. But that’s also a choice.
Although some combination may sound a bit weird or unconventional, taste is what matters. Combining vegetables is something because of taste.
Taste is an important factor of cooking. The recipe for Kale au Gratin is superb because it combines another ingredient that is loved by many. We are talking about cheese!
Cheese is for many, the glue that binds something that taste bad with something that taste good. Cheese is a dairy product made from milk. It is produced in a variety of flavors and texture.
Cheese is an excellent source of milk proteins with high content of calcium and vitamin B12. It also contains sodium, so be careful when buying cheese as it is alway good to check the nutrition label.
When kale meets cheese, it is a delicious, nutritious and rich gourmet dish. Kale is a member of the cabbage family. There are many different types of kale. The most common you might find in your local supermarket is the type that is green in color and with a curly shape. Just like this one!
Cleaning and washing kale thoroughly is necessary to remove trapped dirt. It is recommended to best wash kale in cold water, stirring/shake a bit to release the dirt. Two to three rinses may be required to release the grit.
Trimming is necessary for kale. The stem and center vein are tough – stem a bit more than the vein. The vein is too chewy and the stem is tough to chew and cook. So remove them before cooking or eating.
I have been making Creamed Kale au Gratin for a long time. In the Caribbean we have a tendency to take certain vegetables and bake them in a bechamel sauce loaded with cheese. Because I wanted to share a simpler, easy and economical way to make this delicious dish, I decided on Chef Symon’s recipe.
Chef Symon’s recipe is simple and reminds me of my own recipe. The difference is heavy cream. I usually prepare baked dishes or au gratin dishes with bechamel sauce, milk or heavy cream. Adding both heavy cream and milk is not something I do often. I’ve always found it a bit weird to have both dairy product in the same recipe.
The Creamed Kale au Gratin is prepared with ingredients that you would normally find in many supermarkets. Oil, onion, garlic, cheese, black pepper, milk, heavy cream, butter, flour, nutmeg and the show stopper, Kale! The other ingredients in the recipes are breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon zest. I did not think the lemon zest would have made such a difference, but it did!
I sometime add a few drops of lemon juice on my raw of cooked veggies just to wake up the flavors a bit. This tip also helps when the vegetable is bitter. The acidity and taste of the lemon calms down the bitterness of the vegetable.
When preparing this delicious dish of Creamed Kale au Gratin, always use fresh ingredients and serve it on a beautiful baking dish – it will look more appetizing. It will be a nice centerpiece on your dining table.
Creamed Kale au Gratin is a recipe that will take you less than 1 hour to make. Enough time to prepare another dish to satisfy hungry stomachs.
Bon appetit and enjoy!
- Olive Oil
- 1 small Yellow Onion small diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 16 ounces Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale sliced thinly, about 8 cup chopped
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- For the Béchamel
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 2 tablespoons Flour
- 1 cup whole Milk
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- Freshly Grated Nutmeg
- For the Breadcrumb Topping
- 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup chopped Fresh Parsley
- Zest of 1/2 Lemon
- 1/4 cup Melted Butter
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add a film of Olive Oil. When the Oil is warmed, add the Onion with a pinch of Salt.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until the Onions have softened and then add Garlic, cooking until it becomes fragrant. Next add all of the Kale, stirring to coat with the Olive Oil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the Kale has wilted and become dark green. Set aside.
- While your Kale is cooking, place a heavy bottomed sauce pot over medium-high heat and add the Butter. When the Butter has melted whisk in the Flour. Cook for a few seconds until the Butter is absorbed by the Flour and you have a wet sand mixture. Next whisk in the Milk and Cream and season with a good amount of Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper and some freshly Grated Nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 20 minutes or so.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the Breadcrumbs, Parsley, Lemon Zest and melted Butter. Set aside.
- Mix the kale with the bechamel sauce.
- Transfer mixture into a baking dish and then top with an even layer of the Breadcrumb mixture. Place in the oven uncovered for about 20 minutes, until everything is warmed through and bubbly. Finish under the broiler for a minute or 2 until the Breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve alone or with a meat or poultry dish.
- Recipe from Chef Michael Symon - The Chew