The neverending weeknight dinner conundrum — solved for today [Kale and cauliflower gratin]

In the end, whether we are working parents or at home writers, mothers of none or fathers of five, whether we live to eat or eat to live, at some point this week we’ll have to think of something to make for dinner, and chances are we’ve run out of ideas.

Eating seasonally and locally always helps, as it drastically reduces the aberrant amount of options at our fingertips. My choice of fruits and vegetables is always dictated by it; it automatically induces variety and lends rhythm to the year. I love the languid accordion sway of the seasons — Autumn’s cornucopia, which slowly retracts to the last exhausted roots of early April, when the sole relay on the line, the first leaves of wild garlic, by a wisp, signal the green bursts of revival.

Meanwhile it is midwinter, and I offer you this cauliflower and kale gratin. It materialized one day because there happened to be cauliflower and kale. It has become a frequent dinner companion.

Kale and cauliflower gratin
Goes well with a piece of fish or steak, or, simply, a fried egg

Cauliflower
Kale

For the béchamel sauce
60g (4 Tbsps) butter
2 to 3 Tbsps flour
1/2 litre (2 cups) milk
Salt and pepper
Nutmeg

Grated parmigiano or gruyère

*

Preheat oven to 175°C (375°F).

Prepare the cauliflower by removing the outer leaves and cutting into florets. Wash in cold water. Prepare the kale by removing the tough inner stalks and washing thoroughly. Cut into large strips.

Scatter the kale and cauliflower in an ovenproof dish.

For the béchamel: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. As soon as it is melted, add just enough flour to absorb all the butter (it will become solid and lumpy). Stir and cook for a minute of two. Then quickly start adding glugs of milk. Incorporate the milk slowly, a little at a time, stirring well between each addition, until the béchamel, which will start as a big clump, becomes unctuously liquid. [I often add not only milk but a little water as well.] Season well with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Pour the béchamel over the vegetables in the dish. Sprinkled generously with grated cheese.

Pop into the oven for a good half hour to 45 minutes, until bubbly and golden.

Let cool a few minutes before serving.

 

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