- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds Swiss chard (about 3 bunches), stems and large ribs removed and chopped, leaves cut into 1-inch ribbons
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 cups half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 slices country bread, ground into coarse crumbs in a food processor (about 3 cups)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons minced thyme
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the chard stems and ribs until almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add the chard leaves; cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain the chard, let cool slightly and squeeze dry. Working in batches, pulse the chard in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened, 6 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half and bring to a boil, whisking until slightly thickened. Pour over the chard and mix well. Add the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the creamed chard to a deep 8-by-12-inch baking dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 22 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.
- Meanwhile, spread the bread crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on the bottom of the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the olive oil, parsley and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the gratin and serve warm.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 early in the day and refrigerated. Reheat, top with the bread crumbs and serve.