Last Thursday night I decided to brave a new recipe using the mustard greens I received in my CSA share this week. As I mentioned I’ve never eaten greens before thus this is completely new territory to me.
To ease my self into the land of green I chose a recipe that was not just standard cooked up greens. I chose Mustard Green Gratin from the Food Network website. I figured with all the cheese and the crackers on top it would taste kind of like spinach dip or spinach lasagna filling. I halved the recipe and omitted the mushrooms. You can see the original recipe here.
Mustard Green Gratin
1/2 pound stemmed mustard greens
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
5 ounces ricotta cheese (approximately)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (approximately)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup crushed round butter crackers
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove any large stems from the greens and wash thoroughly in a sink with at least five inches of water. Swish the greens around in the water and allow them to sit for a few minutes to allow the sand or dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink. I also added salt to the water to help get any dirt or sand off. After washing the greens place them in a salad spinner to dry them thoroughly. Once clean roughly chop the leaves.
Butter or spray a three cup casserole dish (7 x 5 – Pyrex makes one and it’s perfect for a casserole for one or two people).
In a bowl mix together the egg, ricotta, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the greens and cook until they are wilted, approximately three to four minutes. The greens will reduce to less than 1/4 of their original volume and begin to look like thawed frozen spinach. Remove the pan from heat.
Here’s what the greens looked like when I first added them to the pan:
Add the greens to the egg and cheese mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Spread in prepared baking dish and top with crackers. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool five minutes and serve.
The result? It was okay. The casserole didn’t taste bad (I ended up eating the entire thing myself!) but it was a bit dry. I think I made a mistake in omitting the mushrooms but not adding in another form of liquid. Cooking the mushrooms would’ve produced enough liquid to cook the greens however since I left them out I only had butter which wasn’t enough. I might attempt this again with the greens I have left and if I do I will add in some chicken or vegetable broth after the garlic has cooked in the butter for about a minute. I would start with 1/2 cup and then add more liquid from there if necessary. So that’s my recommendation if you are going to make this recipe without the mushrooms.
All in all I liked this recipe enough to try it again with a few more tweaks. The best part about this recipe was that I didn’t actually measure much of anything. I eyeballed everything and mixed it all up. That saves time and energy. In a recipe like this its not as important to have everything measured out exactly, unlike in baking where if you get too much or too little of an ingredient it can completely mess up the end result.
I have a few mustard greens left so I will either make this recipe again or I will try a more traditional method of cooking greens. I’ll let you know how it goes either way!
Happy long weekend!