by Mollie Katzen
6 to 8 servings
Adapted from The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation
Brussels sprouts, spinach, and potatoes are laced with onions and garlic and baked under a crusty roof of bread crumbs and cheese. Humble ingredients; extraordinary results.
• To speed this along, do steps 2 and 3 at the same time.
• To get the right amount of bread crumbs, toast 2 slices of your favorite whole wheat sandwich bread, then crumble coarsely by hand. You can also use a food processor, but don't make them too fine – keep the crumbs the size of pomegranate seeds.
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 pound smallish potatoes, in 1/8-thick half circles (peeling optional)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, in 1/8-inch slices (include all the leaves that fall off while you’re cutting it)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion (¾ pound)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons minced or crushed garlic
½ pound spinach—baby leaves or coarsely chopped larger leaves
¼ cup cream or half and half
1 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 packed cup grated Gruyère cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the hightest position that will fit your baking pan. Coat a 9 X 13-inch baking pan or equivalent gratin pan with about ½ tablespoon olive oil.
Fill a medium-large saucepan with water and put it on to boil; place a colander in the sink. When the water boils, slowly add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Cook them together for about 10 minutes, or until they become fork-tender. Dump them into the colander, and shake to thoroughly drain.
Meanwhile, place a large (10- to 12-inch) skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute, then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Melt in the butter, swirl again, and then add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, and sauté for about 8 minutes, or until the onion becomes very soft, verging on golden.
Stir in the garlic and lay the spinach on top to wilt. (It will quickly oblige.) Add the drained potatoes and sprouts, the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, a generous amount of black pepper, and the cream. Turn off the heat, and stir to get everything thoroughly distributed, then transfer to the prepared pan.
Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and grated cheese, and dust it lightly with paprika. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is perfectly melted and turning golden. Serve hot or warm.