It may have taken a few years for some of the family to get there, but we now enjoy our CSA greens. Kale is the fan favourite. I love a good mustard green for the slight bitterness and the earthy taste. I’m also a fan of rainbow chard, because I grew up eating it. Many of you have passed off those greens or left them on the “free” table, or you are tired of the same old recipes. Crave your CSA greens again with the simple addition of a cheesy smooth, nutty and rich Gruyere Béchamel. Using Gruyère AOP is one of the best ways to enjoy fall flavours and is something always worth having in the fridge year round. I chatted with the folks at Gruyère AOP earlier this year (after being a lifelong fan of the cheese) and they sent me samples and walked me through the various versions made each with unique characteristics and traditions.
You don’t need much of the sauce (if cheese and butter is not your thing) to transform the greens with Gruyère and its so simple to make. We usually use the kale and mustard greens, for salad. Our go to kale salad is inspired by South End Buttery’s kale salad with a fennel seed and grapefruit dressing, almond slivers and cheese shards. We also like to have a vegetable medley with all the veggies, greens and all sautéed with some garlic and served with grilled bread, polenta or pasta. The most decadent is braised greens or vegetable medley drizzled or doused in a Béchamel Gruyère cheese sauce.
Start with some Gruyère. If you are not familiar with this exceptionally delicious and loveable cheese then today is the day to go out and get some. Gruyère is a controlled regional cheese just like Champagne is. The milk has to come from certain regions and has to be no farther than 12.4 miles away. In the cheese making process, the he milk is heated over a wood fire. What that means is when you buy Gruyère you are always going to get a cheese held to a high standard with all the specific features that make Gruyère so special. No bad version comes to market.
Here is the recipe I like to use for my Gruyère Béchamel. For the water that you add in, keep any of the liquid from braising your vegetables and use that in addition to water or soup stock to get 1 1/4 cups of liquid.
Gruyere Cheese Bechamel
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup whole milk, warmed
- 1 1/4 water, cooking liquid from the vegetables
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (1 2/3 cups)
- Heat the 2/3 cup of milk in a small pot over low heat.
- Keep the braising liquid from the vegetables warm in the pan or heat up 1 1/4 cups of water. You need a total of 1 1/4 cups of braising liquid and/or water warmed up.
- Grate the Gruyère on the coarsest side of the grater.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble and turn golden.
- Add in the flour and stir to combine. Allow the flour butter mixture to cook for 2 minutes.
- Grab a whisk and slowly pour the warm milk into the flour/butter paste, whisking constantly.
- Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking constantly. Add in the nutmeg and pepper.
- Lower the heat, and add in the grated Gruyère stirring until fully melted.
- Your Gruyère Béchamel is ready to use. Pout it over your CSA greens. Serve it warm as a dipping sauce or pour over pasta,
- You can fill a dish with braised endives (which become sweet and tender) pour over the Gruyère Béchamel, and broil or bake until the top is bubbling and has little pockets of golden cheese. For a more golden crunchy surface, sprinkle a little extra Gruyère on top before broiling.