Recipes Gone Wild: Beth Lewand’s Random Green Gratin

Before becoming a Greenpointer, I was a Williamsburger, living near the bridge with a lovely French lady and her feisty kitten, whom we’ll call Tache (to protect the innocent). In what I understand as a typically French behavior, my roommate would not refrigerate her stinky cheeses, but rather would let them ripen, over the course of a week or so, atop the counter. Just like his caretaker, Tache the kitten was crazy for blue cheese in the way that most cats are crazy for catnip, and daily I’d hear my roommate cry out “Tache!!!! Nnnnnnnoooooooon!!!” upon finding her frommages pilfered and devoured by that mischievous fur ball. Poor Tache simply couldn’t resist an odiferous, bloomy blue. But where is this whole kittens and cheese tangent going? When I asked Beth Lewand of Eastern District if she’d like to help me think if something to cook this week, she sent her beautiful Random Green Gratin recipe, enhanced with ripe, tangy notes of firm and soft cheeses, a dish that no kitten could resist. Plus, if you know Beth, then you know she’s really into kittens. Can’t blame her. Kittens ‘n’ cheese. The epitome of the good life.

Recipe by Beth Lewand, Eastern District

Random Green Gratin

This can be made with any combination of dark leafy greens and cheeses, so it’s a good way to clean out the fridge, experiment with new flavor combinations, or just add some variety to your winter vegetable menu. I recommend using a combination of bitter and sweet greens, like collards and chard or kale and spinach.

I also like mixing firm, sharp cheeses with soft, funky cheeses. A few combinations to consider:

  • Rupert and Winnimere
  • Alpha Tolman and Reading Raclette
  • Prairie Breeze Cheddar and Ameribella

…but I bet anything yummy sitting in your fridge would work great.

Ingredients:
A couple of bundles of sturdy greens (e.g. kale, collards)
1 cup flavorful cheeses (see notes above for ideas)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.

  2. Grate about 1 cup of flavorful cheeses.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  4. Meanwhile, clean a couple bundles of sturdy greens and chop into thin strips. (Remove only very tough stems)

  5. Blanche the greens in the boiling water for 1 minute, then drain.
  6. Combine the greens with salt, pepper and about 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.

  7. Oil a baking dish with olive oil, add the greens and broth, and top with cheese.

  8. Bake, uncovered, until golden and bubbly.

Thanks so much for sharing this delicious recipe, Beth!

Fun with music: Kittens ‘n’ cheese– a combination as classic as Peaches ‘n’ Cream. Please enjoy this throwback jam by 112 while you cook. Warning: this video features mature content…er, sort of… if there’s a way to eat canned peach slices maturely.

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

About Libby V

Libby VanderPloeg lives and makes work in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She grew up in Michigan on the edge of the Great Lakes dunes, and has lived in Chicago, New York, and Stockholm. Her work comes out of her deep affinity for storytelling, music, letterforms, printed ephemera, and wildlife. None of these works could have been made without the world's finest brioche and several good, strong cups of coffee.

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