While making chicken soup today, I set aside the giblets and the skin from the whole roaster I had bought. Once the chicken was roasting, I looked at them sitting there and came up with a quick idea for lunch.
Now, let’s get something out of the way. This is not low-fat. This is not meant to be. This is meant to be eaten while feeling slightly smug that you did it in less than 10 minutes while munching and looking at the driving rain outside and feeling warm and well fed and grateful for such things.
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to be ready every spring at the farmers markets around the country and the Bay Area is no exception with bundles appearing at markets in the last couple of weeks. We snapped up two pounds this afternoon at the Heart of the City Market.
The Castro Farmers Market opened for the season recently and after a quick stroll through, I headed home with enough fresh produce to keep me busy… for a day or two. In fact, all of the ingredients for this recipe, except for the cream, flour and seasonings were purchased there.
Leafy vegetables are in season with mounds of rainbow chard available. The bright red and yellow stalks of rainbow chard grabbed my attention. Yet despite the chard’s promise of spring, I felt it needed to be prepared in a way that remembers it can still be quite chilly outside. A gratin seemed like the right choice for me here.
I used Monterey Jack here, but a hearty gruyere or swiss would also be great. Don’t worry if the sauce seems too thick while mixing it with the chard. As the gratin bakes, the chard will release liquid and the sauce will thin out considerably. Letting the gratin stand after baking lets the otherwise soupy sauce thicken a little before serving.
Recipe and photos follow
My latest Examiner article is up:
SF Historical Eat: The Hangtown Fry
While spring may just be around the corner, in the Bay area we’re hunkering down for a few days of winter storms to blow through with cold rain and powerful winds. Just the kind of weather we look forward to for desserts like this one. Fennel is just starting to come into season and pears are abundant as well. Together with lemon they give a bright flavor that would go well after a hearty roast pork dinner. While the pears become tender and juicy in the baking, the fennel remains pleasantly crisp and crunchy. Drizzle some crème fraiche for a sour counterpoint or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for cool sweeter accent.
Recipe and photos follow