The room I’m sitting in has a bizarre, spartan atmosphere. There is a mountain of boxes still waiting to be unpacked, but I have managed to shove them out of sight and out of mind for the time being. I love being in a new space, but hate the actual moving part. This means I tend to put the proverbial cart before the horse, scribbling garden plans and designing the label for our house ale before I can even find a hairbrush (I am, sadly, serious…but who am I kidding, it’s not like I brush my hair very often anyway). The kitchen, however, is one place that is unpacked and has been in use since our first morning here.Moving in with someone, no matter how intimately you know them, brings small discoveries of how you live and function. I find us having discussions about homemaking and what it means. One central tenet for both of us is the idea of waste reduction— but, lo and behold, the fridge is already full of the gummy ends of pots of brown rice, greens threatening to wilt and mildew, and a parmesan wedge, spreading a discolored hardness down to the rind. The oddballs of the fridge; the leftovers of staples I always have on hand but can very easily escape my best efforts not to waste.
This “gratin” (though perhaps not a gratin in its purest sense) is perfect for making good use of the stragglers. Dishes like this always amaze me: for all their economy and little effort to assemble, they can come together to be the best dinner you have all week.
Greens & grains gratin with browned yogurt topping
The yogurt topping was inspired by a Martha Shulman New York Times recipe, and it is so awesome despite sounding a little strange, initially, to me. I’ve been spreading it over any number of casserole-ish dishes.
You will need
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little more for oiling the baking dish
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 cups raw greens, chopped finely (mine includes spinach and basil. If you use kale, chard, or collards, de-rib and de-stem them first)
1 cup parmesan, grated (another cheese could also work)
3 cups grains, cooked (mine is made with a brown rice/wheat bulgur pilaf mixture I had on hand)
1 cup thick, Greek-style yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Oil a 3-4 quart baking dish.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring a bit, until the shallot begins to become translucent and aromatic, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chopped greens and give a few quick stirs to coat in the oil and allium mixture. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the grains, the greens mixture, and 3/4 cup parmesan. Taste for salt and pepper and season if necessary. Then, stir in just one of the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.
In another bowl, mix the yogurt, remaining two eggs, and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan. Throw in a few pinches of paprika if you want. Spread this mixture in an even layer over the grains and greens.
Bake, 35 minutes or so, until the egg-yogurt topping sets and becomes speckled brown. Serve hot.