Sometimes I amaze even myself. You know, I didn’t start cooking until a few years ago when I decided to start this blog. Up until then, I was pretty much making wraps and pasta every night. Things weren’t exciting at all and more often than not, on most nights, we stood around wondering what we could possibly make for dinner that we hadn’t already made a thousand times before. This blog has helped immensely in that regard. It puts pressure on me to flip through my collection of cookbooks and to prepare nice things. Today’s recipe is just that – nice. I’m surprised I pulled it off and that it looks so good.
This is an interesting recipe. It reminds me of a frittata in that it’s primarily comprised of eggs and vegetables, but it also reminds me of a custard in that the recipe calls for quite a bit of half-and-half. Most of all though, this reminds me of a gratin because of the cheese topping that’s browned oh so perfectly. Between the cheese on the bottom, the cheese that’s mixed in with the eggs and the cheese that’s sprinkled on top, there’s definitely a cheese element. Luckily, I used Parmesan cheese in this recipe, so it’s extremely tasty with a salty bite.
This is a fairly simple recipe to put together. The ingredients list isn’t long at all. You’ll need some cherry tomatoes, lots of eggs, some kale or chard and some Parmesan cheese. Oh yeah, you’ll also need that half-and-half and a few other small items, but I’ll list those all below.
Laura and I enjoyed this for dinner last night and I must give it a very positive review. First, the sheer volume of available gratin was something that pleased me very much. I also liked the kale and the tomatoes a lot. The tomatoes are simmered in butter before adding them to the casserole, so the flavors were magnified. Overall, I think dish deserves an “A,” that is, if you’re into this type of thing. I can’t find anything wrong with it and it induced smiles all around.
3 Tablespoons Butter + Extra For Buttering Casserole
1 1/4 Cups Parmesan Cheese, Grated
8 Ounces Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Ground Black Pepper
3 Teaspoons Garlic, Minced
12 Ounces Kale or Swiss Chard (stemmed), Chopped
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch
2 1/2 Cups Half-and-Half
12 Large Eggs
These recipes keep getting better and better. This is the fourth recipe this week that I pulled out of The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. Luckily, there are over 700 recipes in this one book, so I think I’ll be busy for a while.
Pre-Heat the Oven
Arrange your oven racks so one is in the center position and the other is in the second position from the top. Then, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Butter the Casserole
Butter a large casserole about half way up the sides. I believe the casserole I used was about 12″ by 8″ and about 3″ deep. That was large enough to hold all the ingredients. After buttering thoroughly, sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese across its bottom surface.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of butter to the skillet along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and then add in the cherry tomatoes. Swirl these tomatoes around every so often and allow them to cook for about five minutes. Their skins should shrivel slightly and their flavors should really wake up. When finished with this process, pour the tomatoes into the casserole.
Next, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the skillet and then add in the garlic. Stir and cook the garlic for two minutes. After that, add in the kale or the chard and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the leaves are wilted. You may need to cover the skillet for the first few minutes to hasten this process. When all the leaves are wilted, add the contents of the skillet to the casserole as well.
Prepare Egg Mixture
In a large bowl, add the cornstarch and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix these two ingredients together. Then, add in the half-and-half and all the eggs and whisk everything together well. Add in 1/2 cup of Parmesan as well and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the egg mixture into the casserole and then sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese across the surface of the eggs.
Bake the Gratin
Add the casserole to the middle rack of your oven and let bake for 40 minutes. After that point, push a toothpick into its center and if it comes out clean, this step is done. If it’s still wet, continue cooking for a few more minutes until the toothpick comes out dry.
When the baking is done, turn off the oven heat and turn on the broiler. Move the casserole to the top rack and let the cheese brown for just a few minutes. It browns quickly, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it. I kept mine in this position for about two minutes and it browned quite substantially. When finished, turn off the heat and remove the casserole from the oven to cool.
Plate & Serve
Using a large spoon, scoop out some of the gratin, plate and serve. Enjoy!
The Final Tomato, Kale & Egg Gratin
Doesn’t this look good? When I pulled this out of the oven, I was actually surprised. First, that it browned so much so quickly and second because it looked almost professionally made. Again, I surprise myself at times. It helps that the dish tastes so good as well. Anyway, if you decide to give this recipe a try, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!
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