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Beet stem gratin

Beet Green Stem Gratin

I threw my back out a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t been incapacitated, but man-oh-man, I’ve been walking like a guilty convict in ankle shackles.

*shuffle, shuffle, shuffle*

So, let’s just say Jedd has been doing the “metaphorical heavy lifting.”

He’s had to grab the pots and pans on the lower shelves, the onions, the carrots, the celery, the bell peppers, the kale, the chard, the lettuce, the mustard, the chicken, the pork, the bacon, and well, you get the idea.

I can reach up, but wow, bending down is a joke.

And by “joke,” I mean something along the lines of a bad joke in a comedy club. You know, something that makes you groan.

So, by necessity and kindness he’s been in the kitchen even more than usual to help me out. The other night he was helping me break down the pounds of CSA greens from the crisper and he was separating the beet greens from the baby beets. He had a mound of the stems, and asked if he should trim them back more so they were just the beets.

And they looked so, so pretty I said he just should leave them like that.

I told myself that once I could walk upright (or a close approximation thereof) I’d make something fun with the beet green stems, and I’d photograph them. (My poor camera has been neglected for 10 days. I missed you, Buddy!)

And that’s when this idea was born.

Parboiling the stems to make them soft, tossing them with buttery panko and herbs, and baking them into sweet and earthy beet submission.

Well it worked. These guys are delicious.

I overdid it a tad, and put the ramekin in the oven and took it out. Whoops. Ouch. I’m back to the convict shuffle, but it was worth it.

It’s July, and it’s time to get our greens on – in all their glorious forms.

Beet Green Stem Gratin

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

3 cups water

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

15 small beet green stems, trimmed

2 tablespoons salted butter

1 cup panko

2 teaspoons dried parsley

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup shredded parmesan

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

2 teaspoons fresh oregano

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring the water and broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.

Add the beet stems and reduce heat to medium.

Cook uncovered for 8-9 minutes, or until softened.

Drain, and run under cold water to stop them from cooking.

Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the panko, parsley, and salt.

Stir well until the panko is golden brown.

Place the beet green stems in a small baking pan, and cover with panko.

Sprinkle cheese over the panko.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

Top with thyme and oregano, and serve.

(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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