Kale and Potato Gratin

2012 is the year of kale. I am sure of it.

You know how, near the beginning of every new year food writers and organizations speculate on the coming trends? So the James Beard Foundation said this year it could be Thai food (didn’t we already do that?), doughnuts (ditto) and Caneles.

Huh? (Caneles are a kind of molded cake made out of crepe batter).

Huffington Post suggested Alfajores.

Huh? (two sweet biscuits with mousse or jam in the middle; sounds like a combo of Oreos and Macarons).

Well now the year is nearly half over and maybe I haven’t been looking too hard but I haven’t seen more Thai food. My local Dunkin’ Donuts still has the same old stuff and the bakeries don’t offer more than the usual jelly filled kind.

And I haven’t yet found a place that sells either Caneles or Alfajores. Though maybe I could get some Alfajores if I visit my brother in Buenos Aires.

So I’ll stick with kale as the big winner for 2012. Kale is healthy, delicious and a terrific way to add vegetable variety to your meals. 

You know it’s a trend when you hear that older people who have spent an entire lifetime not eating kale are eating it now. And younger people who are into healthy eating are eating more of it.

And especially, because of my husband, who is eating kale portions for two recently. He has said he hates kale but when I make it in a gratin he asks for seconds, as I mentioned the other day.  He gobbled up this one too. 

Kale Gratin! Who knew!

Kale and Potato Gratin

4 small Yukon Gold potatoes

1 large bunch kale (14-16 ounces)

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-3/4 cups whole or lowfat milk

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup finely grated Swiss cheese

1/2 cup packed fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons melted butter

2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a baking dish. Peel the potatoes and boil them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Let cool and slice. Place half the slices on the bottom of the baking dish. While the potatoes are cooking, wash the kale and remove the thick stems from the bottom. Chop the kale coarsely. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Immerse the kale and cook for 7-8 minutes or until soft. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Set the kale aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the flour and cook for about one minute. Gradually add the milk and stir until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir to blend the ingredients. Add the Swiss cheese and mix it in. Stir in the kale. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining potatoes and kale mixture. Mix the bread crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over the kale. Top with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Makes 6 servings