To Try: Artichoke Heart and Spinach Gratin

from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen (Hyperion, 2007)

Serves 6

What could be better than layers of artichoke hearts and spinach with a crunchy topping of bread crumbs and cheese? Make your own coarse bread crumbs by drying out some of your favorite bread, and then crumbling it either by hand — in a plastic bag, so it won’t go all over the place — or pulse it in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. This dish keeps for several days, covered and refrigerated, and reheats in an oven, toaster oven, or microwave very well.—Mollie Katzen

One 12-ounce bag frozen artichoke hearts
1 pound fresh baby spinach leaves (or 1 pound frozen chopped spinach)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely minced onion
2 teaspoons minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Place the artichoke hearts in a colander and run them under tap water to defrost. Set aside to drain thoroughly.

3. Place the spinach in a separate colander and rinse. Shake to remove most, but not all, of the water clinging to the leaves. If using frozen spinach, thaw it in a colander under running tap water and then let it drain well — pressing out most of the excess liquid with the back of a spoon. It doesn’t have to be bone-dry, just not soupy.

4. Place a large, deep skillet with an ovenproof handle over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.

5. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the spinach, and cover. Cook, tossing occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted. Remove the cover and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid released by the spinach mostly evaporates.

6. Turn the heat back down to medium, then add the garlic, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Saute until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 3 minutes, then stir in the drained artichoke hearts and remove from the heat.

7. Smooth the top surface with the back of a spoon, and sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top, followed by an even layer of cheese.

8. Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the Parmesan is golden and the bread crumbs have turned golden and crispy. Serve hot or warm.

Published in: on April 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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