Ah, the praises of beet greens, carrot tops, and fennel fronds sung by many who insist that all that greenery be kept, used, and even celebrated. Well, here’s one way to use the deeply flavorful and, yes, healthy leaves that are attached to your deeply flavorful and healthy beets. Use the vegetables for Red Beet Salad with Pistachios and then keep the greens in the crisper drawer to make this earthy gratin.
The greens get slow-roasted and then tossed with cheese to become a gratin. The slow-roasting takes two hours and can be done the day before.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 bunches beet tops
- 1⁄4 cup water, plus more if needed
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1⁄2 cup fresh ricotta
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Spread the beet greens on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the water over them, and then the olive oil. Season the greens with the sea salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Toss with your hands to moisten the leaves.
- Slow-roast the beet greens for 2 hours, tossing them with tongs every 30 minutes. If the pan gets dry, add a few tablespoons of water to keep it moist. The volume of the beet greens will decrease by more than half. They will be limp, dark, and moist when they’re done. (The greens can be roasted up to a day in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to make the gratin.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. If you have a separate broiler, preheat it too.
- Place the roasted beet greens in a 12-inch oval gratin dish. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with 3 turns of a pepper mill. Toss to combine. Dot the top of the gratin with the ricotta. Bake for 10 minutes to thoroughly heat the ingredients.
- Finish the gratin under the broiler until it browns and bubbles, about 1 minute. Serve hot.